(Getty)Before he fights for the final time at UFC 148, former UFC champion Tito Ortiz will be named to the UFC's Hall of Fame. He defended the light heavyweight five times, and his bouts with Chuck Liddell helped build the UFC, and UFC president Dana White wants to honor him for that contribution.
"He pound for pound was doing some of the most damage at a time when we were hurting," said White. "But it's part of our history the way the storylines played out between me, Chuck and Tito. He's definitely a part of the history of the sport."
Ortiz has been given a great honor in being added to the names of Royce Gracie, Dan Severn and the rest. What undermines that honor is the arbitrary nature of the UFC Hall of Fame. Since it's the UFC's Hall, and not a non-partisan, MMA Hall of Fame, it has the right to do it. As Ben Fowlkes pointed out, it's no different than a company's employee of the month award. The UFC's brass is pleased with what Ortiz has brought to their company, so they want to honor him.
But it shouldn't be compared to the Halls of Fame that award retired football players or boxers. There is no transparent criteria. There are no rules on entry, and no apparent voting process. As MMA ages, hopefully the sport's top names will see the value in a Hall of Fame that is not limited to fighters who were just in the UFC.