UFC 106: Griffin-Ortiz rematch

Going into UFC 106, Tito Ortiz claimed that people would see an all-new version of Tito Ortiz, injury-free for the first time in years.

But after losing a decision to Forrest Griffin in his return to the promotion after a 17-month absence on November 21, 2009, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, the former light heavyweight champion returned without his usual conditioning, citing numerous injuries after the fight.

Ortiz lost a split decision on scores of 30-27, 28-29 and 29-28, and then claimed to came into the fight with a bulging disc between his C-6 and C-7 vertebrae, which is a serious neck injury, and had suffered a cracked skull. Griffin mentioned suffering a broken right foot three weeks before the fight in training. The post-fight medical reports confirmed Griffin’s broken foot, but not Ortiz’s claims.

In 2006, between his first fight with Griffin, which Ortiz won on a close decision, two wins over Ken Shamrock and a loss to Chuck Liddell, Ortiz set three UFC PPV records, a gate record and drew what is still the largest television audience to a live UFC fight in history.

Griffin, was coming off drawing big numbers in a loss to Anderson Silva as part of a double-main event at UFC 101, and considered one of the company’s biggest draws.

But the rematch of a UFC classic didn’t sell. The two only sold 6,631 tickets, one of the lowest numbers for a UFC pay-per-view event since the company hit it big. The PPV buys, estimated at 310,000, were only about one-third of what Griffin’s prior fight did, and far lower than any prior Ortiz-headlined event since UFC went on Spike TV.

The first two rounds were close, but Ortiz, formerly known for his endless gas tank, had nothing left in round three. Griffin picked him apart like he was a heavy bag for five straight minutes.

NOTEWORTHY

In the semifinal fight, Josh Koscheck overcame a huge size disadvantage over monster welterweight Anthony Johnson, who usually hovers between 210-220 pounds in the off-season, and attempts to cut to 270. Johnson made weight, and looked to have five inches in height and an easy 15 pounds on Koscheck in the cage, but ended up being choked out at 4:47 of the second round. Koscheck came out a big winner, getting bonuses for best match of the night and best submission, and before any additional undisclosed bonuses, earned $246,000.

Karo Parisyan was scheduled to face Dustin Hazelett. But two days before the show, pulled out, claiming he was broke and couldn’t afford to pay a $32,000 fine from testing positive for three painkillers in his previous fight. However, according to Keith Kizer, the Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Parisyan had agreed to a payment plan where he would have to pay $16,000 after he got his check for this fight ($40,000 to show and a $40,000 win bonus), and could pay the other $16,000 after his next fight. Dana White released him, and said he would never use him again, although he was scheduled to return in late 2010.

Quoteworthy: “What do you expect? I have to sell a fight” – Ortiz, on making injury claims after his loss, following weeks of saying he was in the best shape of his life.

RESULTS

George Sotiropolous def. Jason Dent, submission (armbar), 4:36 R2
Caol Uno vs. Fabricio Camoes, majority draw
Brian Foster def. Brock Larson, TKO, 3:10 R2
Kendall Grove def. Jake Rosholt, submission (triangle choke), 3:59 R1
Ben Saunders def. Marcus Davis, KO, 3:24 R1
Amir Sadollah def. Phil Baroni, unanimous decision
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def. Luiz Cane,1:56 TKO
Paulo Thiago def. Jacob Volkmann, unanimous decision
Forrest Griffin def. Tito Ortiz, split decision.