Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
But at the same time, both Ortiz and Dana White displayed selective memories as they bashed Griffin for his actions, first in storming out of the cage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and then in stealing Ortiz's final post-fight interview from Joe Rogan.
Was Griffin in the wrong? Undoubtedly. But karma waits until the right moment to strike, and this may have been cosmic payback for Tito's "Bad Boy" postfight transgressions over the years.
Ortiz interrupted Griffin's post-fight interview at UFC 59 in Anaheim, after Ortiz took a split-decision win. At UFC 106, Ortiz stole Griffin's shine after the latter's victory by complaining about his injuries on the mic and claiming a phantom cracked skull. This came about after weeks of Ortiz saying he had never been in better shape in his life.
And those are just the moments from the Griffin trilogy.
That doesn't even account for earlier incidents in Tito's career, like when he left the cage and ran through the crowd before the decision was announced in his UFC 51 split-decision win over Vitor Belfort. Or when he jumped into the cage to challenge Chuck Liddell. Or when he made grave-digging motions in center Octagon after defeating fellow Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock.
While we're all warm and fuzzy about Ortiz's Hall of Fame induction and his rightful due in helping build the sport, Ortiz's bad side is still part of the package, and no fighter disrespected his opponents in the Octagon after fights as Ortiz did over the years.
Ortiz's most legitimate beef in the fight's aftermath was in the bout's scoring. I personally scored it 29-28 for Ortiz, winning a close first round, clearly losing round two, and rallying to win round three. Griffin must not have felt like the winner, either, because bolting from the cage in a huff is something he only tends to do after losses.
"Forrest pitter-pattered," Ortiz said. "I have no respect for his punches. He threw those punches and nothing hurt. The fans see the fight. The judges see boxing rounds. This is too big of a sport to be like that. I fought with my heart, I fought with my soul. I fought with my heart, I fought with my soul. I did everything I could. After the fight was over, I had nothing left."
"I got fight of the night, I have no regrets. I went out and I fought with my soul and my heart. Forrest fought a good fight, pitter patter, I was trying to kill him with every punch. [Expletive] happens. I thought I won. I thought the fight was over. The fans fought the fight was over. The judges didn't see it that way. It is what it is."
UFC 148 Notes
Random, scattered thoughts about what, barring the unlikely event of a Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight, will likely go down as the biggest combat sports event of the year: Chael Sonnen, essentially, is the MMA version of the Boston Red Sox, circa 1919-2003: Talented enough to get to the biggest stage, only to make fatal mistakes at the absolute worst moments. Just like there was always a playable grounder rolling through Bill Buckner's legs, or Pedro Martinez staying in Game 7 an inning too long, Sonnen's legacy, when all is said and done, will be of briefly losing his concentration in his first bout with Anderson Silva and his ill-advised spinning back fist Saturday night. ... At the same time, Sonnen's unmistakeable dignity in defeat revealed yet another layer to this complex character. Sonnen offered nothing that even hinted of an excuse after losing. He effusively praised Silva's skill and heart. He was offered a potential out by reporters who asked about whether Silva's knee to the chest was legal, and he refused to stir controversy. He even complimented the Brazilian fans for their fervor in supporting their fighter. For all that's been made of Sonnen's various controversies, the truest judge of character is how one reacts when life knocks scores a knockdown, and Sonnen's class after the most disappointing moment of his career spoke volumes. ... My gut feeling on Silva vs. Jon Jones is that there's simply too much of a size difference between the fighters, the same reason why Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre never happened. But who knows? There's nothing interesting left for Silva at middleweight (Hector Lombard? Really?). If Jones beats Henderson, light heavyweight will be cleaned out. And Dana White has already hinted at a mega-show at a football stadium in January. If Jones beats Hendo and can be talked into coming down to a reasonable catchweight, maybe the fight will happen after all.
UFC 148 Quotes
"It's very important when you lose a fight that you don't say, 'My opponent was better tonight.' The better guy wins every time. The better guy won." --Chael Sonnen
"There's one thing i find hysterical. Leading up to the fight, I heard 'Chael Sonnen crossed the line.' ... Does everybody realize this is a fight? This is the fight business. Not every time do the guys like each other. We're not always living in the martial arts realm. It doesn't happen all the time." --Dana White.
"What he meant was, I'm going to go back, get back in the gym, and I'd love to fight in China. I'm translating for Cung." -- White
"I'm going to go back in the gym and get ready for China." -- Le
To main event referee Yves Lavigne, who in the heat of the moment correctly gauged that Anderson Silva's knee to the downed Chael Sonnen was legal. For as much abuse as the referees take, sometimes deserved, guys like Levigne get assigned to MMA's biggest fights for a reason: Their ability to make those split-second judgment calls and usually get them right. And if that's not enough for you, consider the guy on the receiving end refused to complain about the knee. "We can't sit and nitpick these things," Sonnen said. "I don't care if it was legal or illegal. I could see it coming. That's just the way it goes."
To the UFC in simply making the Chad Mendes-Cody McKenzie mismatch. Mendes's quick TKO was so lopsided that even Dana White piled on afterwards. "Cody was definitely out of his league tonight," he said. "It was an injustice to [Mendes], next time we need to get him a better opponent for his next fight." Later, when a reporter asked Griffin who he might want to fight next, White quipped "Maybe he'll call out Cody McKenzie next."
Demian Maia. There's only so much you can glean from a 47-second fight, particularly when it ends on a fluke injury. But Maia was gambling his big-league future on dropping to 170 pounds after stalling out at middleweight, and in his win over the always-tough Dong Hyun Kim, Maia looked sleeker, faster, and crisper in his movement and execution. And controlling a hard-to-throw judoka like Kim in such a manner showed Maia doesn't appear to have given up much strength in the face of his weight cut. Maia should be fast-tracked to a bout with a top-tier welterweight.
Fight I Want to See Next
Chael Sonnen vs. Rashad Evans No, the latter hasn't said he wants to drop a weight class. But where does Evans go at 205 pounds after a one-sided loss to Jones? Evans is in need of new challenges and Sonnen has defeated everyone of note in the middleweight division save Silva. The style matchup is intriguing and both guys have the ability to talk this fight into a pay-per-view headliner without a title belt at stake. So why not make the match?
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