Legend. Icon. Pioneer. All words that describe Tito Ortiz and his storied career. Tito has ridden on the MMA rollercoaster since 1997. He was there during the ‘dark ages’ of the UFC, as well as it’s comeback after The Ultimate fighter. He brought the first big sponsors to MMA and got the mainstream interested in the sport. After choking Chael Sonnen out this evening at Bellator 170, the ride came to it’s end.
Chael Sonnen and Tito Ortiz have been on the Bellator 170 media tour this past month. Chael kept poking at Tito with insults unrelated to fighting. Videos and photos of Tito had been surfacing and he looked like he had been training like this was the last fight in his career. While Chael continued to joke around, Tito was getting busy in the gym. When the cage door finally shut, the difference in preparedness showed.
After a couple of punches and kicks, Tito Ortiz and Chael Sonnen went straight to their grappling. Tito hit the takedown and Chael countered with a guillotine attempt. He used the guillotine to sweep Tito and get top position. Chael really went for it, by attempting another guillotine. Tito was in Chael’s half guard and gave referee John McCarthy the thumbs up.
As soon as Tito escaped, Chael was as good as done. Tito is a beast and when he’s on top of you, he’s a monster. Tito got to full mount and began dropping his signature elbows. Sonnen began his escape, but only put himself in a much worse position. Tito got the rear naked choke and Sonnen tapped.
In order to sell the fight, Chael did Chael things and it angered Tito. So, some minor drama ensued, as Tito wouldn’t let go of the choke. He had it on for an extra couple of seconds before Big John jumped on him to break it up. There were no handshakes or congratulations between the two. They simply went their separate ways.
As a special ending to Tito’s career, he let his son Jacob (who is his spitting image) leave his gloves in the cage. As an ode to wrestling, leaving his gloves in the cage signifies having ‘left it all in the cage’.