What may have been Tito Ortiz's last stand in the UFC took place on May 24, 2008, with UFC 84 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
While B.J. Penn beat Sean Sherk to retain the lightweight title in the main event, it was clear that the match with the most interest to the live crowd was Ortiz vs. Lyoto Machida. The pres-how hype, was built around the Ortiz feud with UFC president Dana White, that this would be Ortiz's last fight with the company, that Machida was representing White, a tag Machida was reluctant to accept, and that either Ortiz or White would finally have to eat crow at the end of the night.
The show drew a sellout well in advance, of 14,771 paying $3,752,420, plus a closed-circuit overflow at the ballroom at the hotel. Machida won all three rounds in a dull fight with Ortiz, with Ortiz's only momentary glory late, clamping on a triangle in the third round that Machida admitted was close to finishing him.
Still, it's hard to say anyone ate crow. Ortiz couldn't take Machida down in three rounds, or touch him standing. Machida frustrated a heavily pro-Ortiz crowd with his dodging in and out. But at the end of the night, Ortiz was still the person everyone was talking about.
As Machida was booed heavily during his post-match interview, after winning an easy 30-27 decision, Ortiz upstaged him by jumping on the cage and even in losing the crowd saw him as the real star of the match.
Ortiz was not invited to the post-show press conference, but came anyway, causing an embarrassing scene for UFC as they requested him to leave and he refused. UFC eventually relented and allowed him to remain. In the end, he and White going back-and-forth upstaged the fighters who had actually won matches on the show.
Penn finished Sherk at the end of the third round in a match that turned into largely a boxing match. It was Sherk's first match back after being suspended and stripped of his championship after testing positive for the steroid Nandrolone nearly 11 months earlier. In the interim, Penn had beaten Joe Stevenson to win the vacant title.
Sherk claimed innocence from the start, but the crowd didn't believe him, chanting "steroids" at him while cheering Penn. Sherk was beaten in the boxing aspect of the game, and never committed to trying takedowns. As the third round was coming to a close, with more "steroids" chants, Penn hit Sherk with a left hook, a right uppercut and a flying knee to the chin. Penn followed with nine punches on the ground and the horn sounded to end the round. But Sherk was done and the match was waved off. Penn then smeared Sherk's blood all over himself.
Penn told Sherk after the fight that he respected him, and that fanning the flames with his steroid talk before the fight was because he was trying to make this the biggest lightweight fight of all-time. Penn then asked the crowd if they wanted to see him face Georges St. Pierre.
The show also featured a glimpse of the Wanderlei Silva that dominated Japanese MMA for much of the decade, as he completely destroyed Keith Jardine in just 36 seconds, knocking him cold.
A force for the future, 252-pound heavyweight Shane Carwin, debuted, and knocked Christian Wellisch into the next month with a hard overhand right in just 44 seconds.
Quoteworthy: "Maybe I won't have to hear that question about my cardio now. Every single interview, I was asked that question. I'm glad I won't hear it for a while." – Penn, after steamrolling Sherk.
Shane Carwin def. Christian Wellisch, KO, 0:44 R1
Dong Hyun Kim def. Jason Tan, TKO, 0:25 R3
Rich Clementi def. Terry Etim, unanimous decision
Yoshiyuki Yoshida def. Jon Koppenhaver, submission (anaconda choke), 0:56 R1
Rousimar Palhares def. Ivan Salaverry, submission (armbar), 2:35 R1
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou def. Kazuhiro Nakamurs, TKO, 5:00 R1
Thiago Silva def. Antonio Mendes, submission (strikes), 2:22 R1
Lyoto Machida def. Tito Ortiz, unanimous decision
Goran Eljic def. Wilson Gouveia, TKO, 3:15 r2
Wanderlei Silva def. Keith Jardine, KO, 0:36 R1
UFC lightweight championship: B.J. Penn def. Sean Sherk, TKO, 5:00 R3