Sherdog’s Top 10: MMA Rivalries

No. 6

By Tristen Critchfield Mar 15, 2012



6. Tito Ortiz-Ken Shamrock



The Rundown: In terms of overall competitiveness, Ortiz-Shamrock probably should not rate as one of the best MMA rivalries of all time. After all, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” posted a 3-0 record against Shamrock, including a pair of one-sided thrashings in 2006. However, in terms of bad blood, fan interest and historical significance, the feud definitely belongs.

Ortiz did not trigger the animosity between the two by taunting Shamrock directly. Instead, he drew the ire of “The World’s Most Dangerous” man with his choice of post-fight apparel in victories over Shamrock Lion’s Den stablemates Jerry Bohlander and Guy Mezger. Following a TKO victory against Bohlander at UFC 18, Ortiz sported a T-shirt with the phrase “I just f----d your ass” written on it. Two months later, Ortiz followed up by beating Mezger and donning another shirt with an equally offensive message: “Gay Mezger is my bitch.” With that, the wheels for a Shamrock-Ortiz showdown were set in motion, as the Lion’s Den leader climbed to the top of the cage and threatened Ortiz in rowdy post-fight scene.

When Ortiz and Shamrock met for the light heavyweight title at UFC 40, the promotion was hardly the prosperous, million-dollar operation it is today. Although Ortiz controlled Shamrock for three rounds before his cornermen threw in the towel prior to the fourth, the fight drew unprecedented media interest, as well as a then-UFC record 150,000 pay-per-view buys.

Their second meeting generated even more hype thanks to confrontation-filled coaching stints on Season 3 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Their bout at UFC 61 was brief, as a series of Ortiz elbows forced what Shamrock would protest as an early stoppage just 78 seconds into round one. The numbers were impressive yet again, as UFC 61 drew a $3.3 million gate and 775,000 pay-per-view buys.

The controversial nature of the stoppage led to a third meeting on Spike, but the result was similarly one-sided, with Ortiz using ground-and-pound to stop it in 2:23. Their encounter drew approximately 5.7 million viewers on cable television. Afterward, Ortiz could be heard telling Shamrock that they made a lot of money together -- an appropriate hatchet-burying note if there ever was one.

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