Recently, Tito Ortiz took a major exception to the fact that Ryan Bader referred to him as a “stepping stone” in their upcoming bout at UFC 132.
Yeah right! Tito wishes he were that important.
The truth is, no fighter ever likes to be referred to as a stepping stone because it naturally implies that the “steppee,” and not the “stepper” is slowly on his way out of the sport—which Tito most certainly is.
But what Tito’s ego has severely overlooked is the fact that he hasn’t been an actual contender for a very, very long time. In fact, Tito hasn’t won a fight since he defeated the very over-the-hill Ken Shamrock back on October 10, 2006.
Calling Tito a stepping stone is actually quite the compliment.
Sure Tito Ortiz has a name that has become synonymous with the sport of MMA, and on paper, one might think that it’s a pretty nice feather in the cap for anyone to be able to have, but from a fan perspective, it could easily be argued that Bader is in fact the stepping stone here, and not Tito.
Think about it. Prior to getting dismantled by the now reigning Light Heavyweight Champion Jonny “Bones” Jones, Bader was on top the world, and was recognized by many as the next rising star in the UFC.
Five months later and Bader is now facing a hapless Tito in what definitely has to be considered a “do or die” fight for Ortiz. In other words, Bader went from facing the top of the division, to the bottom, in one fell swoop.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
If Bader wins at UFC 132, he will have successfully beaten a fighter who hasn’t won in nearly five years, and who many argue should have retired long ago. Therefore, however you want to slice it, name or no name, that’s really not all that impressive to be honest.
In fact, should Tito win, and I predict that he will (seriously...did I just say that?), Bader will have officially taken himself out of the upper echelon of the division and launched Tito into a position where not only does he live to fight another day, but he will likely get a shot at someone ranked as high as the Top 3 of the division.
Oh the humanity...
If anyone has anything to lose, it’s Bader.
If anyone has anything to gain, it’s Ortiz.
So who’s the real stepping stone in this whole scenario?
Personally, I’d say it’s Ryan Bader.
Lighten up, Tito, and learn when to take a compliment.
Read: Tito Ortiz: The Self-Promoting Champion of Guerrilla Marketing
These are my opinions. If you don’t like them...I have others. Check them out at www.mmehfighter.com