Ivan's Blog

Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks

Saturday, December 30, 2006
Mixed Martial Arts--- History Being Re-Written on the Eve of the UFC's Biggest PPV Ever
by Ivan Trembow

On the eve of UFC 66, which will be the biggest UFC pay-per-view to date thanks to the main event match-up of Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell, it shouldn't be too surprising to see that history is being re-written, specifically the history of the UFC in articles that also feature interviews with Zuffa executives. The so-called "Zuffa Myth," fresh off its appearance on 60 Minutes, has reared its head in the New York Times and the St. Petersburg Times, both of which failed to do any basic fact checking.

The New York Times wrote: "Dismissed as too brutal by critics, and banned in some states including New York, the sport has been striving for respect after enacting rules in 2001 that forbid tactics like eye gouging and biting."

The St. Petersburg Times wrote: "'We thought, God, if we owned this thing, it would be so cool if we did this or that. We had a lot of ideas,' said [Dana] White, a former boxer and driving force behind the growth of the sport. White’s plan? Invade the country’s major markets. Instead of running from regulation, run toward it."

Basic fact checking would have alerted the New York Times to the fact that eye gouging and biting were both illegal in 1993 when the UFC started. Basic fact checking would have also alerted the St. Petersburg Times to the fact that the "old UFC" ran fully sanctioned UFC events in states such as New Jersey, Iowa, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

New Jersey is regarded as having the second-biggest sanctioning body (behind only Nevada's) in terms of importance and prestige. In addition to getting fully sanctioned in New Jersey, the previous owners of the UFC also made an unsuccessful attempt to get sanctioned in Nevada before selling the UFC to Zuffa, so it is completely false that the previous owners "ran from regulation" or "ran from sanctioning."

A lot of credit must go to James Melroy of the Long Beach Press-Telegram for not repeating these kinds of lies, as Melroy wrote what any other mainstream media reporter would write after doing five or ten minutes of basic fact checking: "SEG Sports, which bought the company in 1995 from its founders, Art Davie and Rorion Gracie, slowly began working toward regulation, and in November of 2000, held its first sanctioned event in New Jersey under the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board's Mixed Martial Arts Unified Rules. But with the company running well into the red, SEG began to field offers from potentials buyers. White, a boxing promoter and fan of MMA, heard about the opportunity and made a few phone calls, including one to his childhood friend Lorenzo Fertitta. 'A month later we owned it,' White said. With White taking over as UFC president and brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta helping out behind the scenes, UFC slowly began to dig itself out of the hole in which it had been buried for so long."

Tito Ortiz Also Re-Writing History
The re-writing of history is not limited to the history of the UFC itself, at least not if you've listened to anything that Tito Ortiz has had to say in the build-up to his rematch with Chuck Liddell. Ortiz has numerous tall tales that he has made a habit of telling in recent days and weeks, one of which is that he was best friends with Liddell right up until Liddell "betrayed" him by agreeing to fight Ortiz in the UFC.

Ortiz' assertion is unintentionally hilarious given the fact that Ortiz was the one who jumped in the Octagon after Liddell defeated Vitor Belfort in mid-2002 to talk about how badly he was going to beat Liddell... this at the time that they were supposedly "best friends who would never fight each other," according to Ortiz' current version of events.

In the official previews, the first fight between Liddell and Ortiz is portrayed very differently from how you may remember it if you saw it in April 2004. Ortiz has portrayed the fight as though his loss was almost entirely because of Liddell's accidental thumb to the eye. It's almost like Ortiz just lost on a technicality if you go by Ortiz' version of events. He was having a fantastic fight and then there was this freak incident with a thumb to the eye and that's the only reason he lost, which is far from the truth.

Then there's the notion that Ortiz insisted on standing and trading strikes with Liddell for the entire first fight... that he played Liddell's game because he was too headstrong to go for takedowns and his signature ground and pound offense. This ignores the visual evidence of Ortiz going for several takedowns in the fight and Liddell defending every one of them.

It's also interesting to note that Ortiz has been saying different things in different interviews about the possibility of one day fighting training partner and new UFC acquisition Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, who will make his UFC debut on February 3rd against Marvin Eastman. In some interviews, Ortiz says that he would be willing to fight Rampage if it was a "champion vs. number one contender" scenario (which is also what Rampage has said publicly on a consistent basis), and in other interviews such as one in the Orange County Register, Ortiz says that he would never fight Rampage and that he actually has an agreement with Rampage that they will never fight.

Tito Ortiz Comments on Triple H
Here's a Tito Ortiz quote regarding Vince McMahon's son-in-law, Paul Levesque (aka Triple H): "I think he would be horrible [in MMA]. He's too stiff and his cardio fitness is horrible. A guy like that isn't an athlete. We're running, lifting, and training every day, not for looks or to show off our bodies, but to fight and last five rounds at full strength."

While Ortiz didn't use the S-word, the point stands that MMA is not bodybuilding. At the same time, pro wrestling in and of itself is a perfectly valid form of entertainment, as Ortiz should know very well given the fact that he has participated in pro wrestling in the past and he has admitted in media interviews that he modeled his character in the Ken Shamrock feud after the WWE character of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

Also, if you haven't been reading MMAWeekly.com lately, check it out to read all about Quinton Jackson's impending UFC debut, the fact that the UFC is going to announce the signing of Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic on tonight's PPV (he will make his UFC debut in February against Eddie Sanchez), and Zuffa's impending TV deals with the UFC headed to HBO (in addition to Spike TV), while the newly Zuffa-owned WEC heads to the Versus Network. All of this and much more is up right now on MMAWeekly.com.

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