Time and time and time again, the UFC continues to set one simple precedent: you compete at your best, or you lose your job. It seems as if no contract is safe these days, and that anyone can be let go at any time for just about any reason. UFC President Dana White recently reaffirmed the UFC’s “nobody is safe” rule when he singled out both Lyoto Machida and Tito Ortiz as two fighters potentially on the chopping block. The naming of Ortiz comes as a shock to relatively no one, but news that White may give Machida the axe is already turning a few heads. Here are all the details.
With credit going to MMA Fighting, White recently said the following at a Q&A session: “[Machida’s] had two losses in a row… Now he’s fighting Randy Couture in Toronto – and this is a must-win for him… Tito’s got to win this fight to stay in the UFC. If he loses this fight, he’ll probably retire.”
As a semi-converted kinda-sorta Tito Ortiz fan, I have to admit that I do feel bad that Ortiz’s promised comeback has never remotely gotten a chance to materialize. Was it really so long ago that Ortiz was the feared “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” that was known around the world as the most dominant, most popular, and most controversial star in the entire UFC? Because it certainly feels like it’s been an eternity since the last time Ortiz was relevant.
I honestly think Ortiz should indeed cut his losses and call it a career if he loses his next fight, which is scheduled to be against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the headlining bout of UFC “Fight Night 24”, also known as “Fight Night: Ortiz vs. Nogueira“. Ortiz hasn’t won an MMA fight since 2006, and his last two wins were both against a past-his-prime Ken Shamrock (and yes, Shamrock was well past his prime even in 2006). And unless Ortiz wants to become his old arch-rival, ruining a once-great career and turning it into a joke, it may be time to hang up the gloves once and for all.
As a huge Lyoto Machida fan, I’m very conflicted when it comes to his impending showdown with Randy Couture. On one hand, I’ll follow Machida no matter where he goes. On the other, I know Machida has another championship run in him and that he’ll shine brightest facing and overcoming the UFC’s best. On one hand, I’d love to see Machida KO Couture and take a huge step back on the comeback trail. On the other, I’m also a massive Couture fan and I really hate it when Couture loses, especially when you consider that he’s quickly approaching the tail-end of his stellar career.
At the end of the day, I think both Ortiz and Machida could conceivably remain employed in the UFC. Ortiz is facing near-insurmountable odds, but as we so often say nowadays, anything is possible in MMA. Machida seems far more likely to remain in the Octagon, and as always, I wish “The Dragon” nothing but the best and can’t wait to see what’s in store for the former champ. So while I agree with Dana White that both men should approach their next fight as if they’re fighting for their jobs (and there’s a pretty good chance they will be, let’s be honest), I’m also very optimistic and hope that these two turn it all around.
And what about you, fans and friends? What do you think of Dana White’s comments?