UFC’s Stalinist View of MMA History Erases Frank Shamrock and Tito Ortiz

Sherdog documents the atrocities: The UFC’s first middleweight champ and arguably its biggest star in the late 90s, Shamrock never lost a fight in…

By: Nate Wilcox | 14 years ago
UFC’s Stalinist View of MMA History Erases Frank Shamrock and Tito Ortiz
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Sherdog documents the atrocities:

The UFC’s first middleweight champ and arguably its biggest star in the late 90s, Shamrock never lost a fight in the Octagon. However, the UFC excluded all of his bouts from fan voting — even his epic scrap against Tito Ortiz in September 1999 at UFC 24.

In short, Shamrock-Ortiz was one of the UFC’s earliest title bouts that felt like a top championship boxing match, given the buildup and drama that made Shamrock’s fourth-round TKO his finest — and final — performance in the Octagon. Giving up more than 20 pounds after the weigh-in, Shamrock calmly and tactically dissected Ortiz in what stands as a masterpiece of strategy, along with a heady dose of down-and-dirty know-how.

Sadly, the bout won’t be featured on the UFC’s countdown that has been airing on Spike TV.

“I thought it was a pivotal fight (in MMA),” Shamrock told Sherdog.com. “Physically and mentally, it was a pivotal fight in the history of the sport itself. It’s obviously pretty ridiculous and childish they left it out. That’s obvious. I was the first-ever champion, and Tito was the first guy in a weight class to work his way up. In my opinion, it was the first real legitimate build-up to a championship fight. It was a real story.”

I’ve blogged about this before and my Frank Shamrock obsession is well documented — in fact the third post ever on BloodyElbow was me bagging on Frank for tarnishing his legacy.. And we certainly included Frank Shamrock vs Tito Ortiz in our USA TODAY/Bloody Elbow top 50 mma fights in history series. We also included his win over Olympic gold medalist Kevin Jackson on our list.

The decision to attempt to erase the second great champion of the UFC (after Royce Gracie) from the official history of the promotion is the kind of thing I’d expect from $kala Shaw, not from people who fancy themselves the caretakers of the sport.

Steve Cofield talks to Tito Ortiz:

“UFC wouldn’t let me go to the Fan Expo. I feel very sorry for all my fans. I’m here for the fans, I’m going to support them no matter what.”

Frankly, this whole thing is ridiculous. Ortiz was a vital part of the organization’s growth going 14-6-1 with the promotion since his first UFC battle back in 1997 at UFC 13. Ortiz and Dana White should’ve found a way co-exist. Tito is losing money in the long term and the UFC cost itself a good personality that it could’ve pushed for the foreseeable future.

Before you scoff and use White’s line that Ortiz is no longer a top 10 205-pounder, look at what’s happened to the careers of Rashad Evans, Forrest Griffin and Lyoto Machida since they fought “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy.” Ortiz’s 1-1-1 mark against those three doesn’t look so bad now. Ortiz hopes to return in late-2009.

Micheal David Smith adds:

Like everyone who follows MMA, I respect the accomplishments of Shamrock and Ortiz in the Octagon and would love to see them recognized as UFC Hall of Famers. But I don’t think that’s going to happen for a long, long time. The UFC won’t be extending an olive branch to Shamrock and Ortiz any time soon.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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