By now, I'm sure most of you are familiar with the events that transpired earlier this week involving mixed martial arts (MMA) lagan Tito Ortiz, who is now a recurring guest on the TNA Impact Wrestling sitcom thanks to a (cough) landmark deal with Bellator and Spike TV.
Tito has what I would call a colorful personality, demonstrating throughout the course of his storied career the ability to generate interest in combat sports, thanks to his animated body language and short bursts of frenetic aggression. And hey, he's always good for a shouting match against Ken Shamrock.
But the same "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" who most fans saw on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 3 -- and then again on TUF 11 -- is not the genuine article. Talking to the camera in a sound booth, or having your diatribes edited down into coherent sound bytes, is a far cry from picking up the stick and holding court.
That was a lesson learned when he became an on-air personality for Affliction MMA (in between UFC gigs).
Wow, just ... wow. Highlights include:
"Seraldo" Babalu should have retired once he became THE GREATEST LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT OF THE NIGHT.
Vitor Belfort is clearly on TRT because he's 131 YEARS OLD.
Josh Barnett must be well dressed because he's got DOMINATING FASHION.
Andrei Arlovski was TOOKEN OUT in front of MILLIONS OF FANS WATCHING AT HOME (pay-per-view buys were in the 150k range) and the 15,000 PEOPLE AND MORE IN THE AUDIENCE TONIGHT (attendance was 13k).
Maybe he was just nervous?
It takes a lot to go up in front of MILLIONS of people and try to ad lib after watching a fight go down. He probably just needed to get his sea legs and with any luck, would come back stronger five years later as a manager, taking over the career of Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino.
Highlights of his press conference:
"Welcome to the press conference for the future of er-uh, Cristinallluherp ... Santos 'Cyborg.' ... The future of her , um, career, and FIGHTING career, um, is in my hands (though it sounds like it's in his mouth). And uh, my hands are as solid around here as possibly! --And to make sure the future of her fight career, no matter what, um, is as successful as possible. And tonight we're gonna show that. Uh, so we've actually worked very hard of working for Cris's uh, future of what she's going to be doing with her fighting and we have her fight, uh, actually, will be happening. In April!"
In unrelated news, the suicide rate among Huntington Beach stenographers is up by 40 percent.
The point of this is not to pile on Ortiz. In MMA, no one gives a shit if you mumble your way through a promo. Half the UFC roster (Tito included) can't speak English. All that matters is what happens after the cage door closes. Unfortunately, that doesn't work in pro wrestling.
You need the gift of gab, or at least a guy like Paul Heyman in your corner, and Ortiz has neither.
Not to mention his street cred is virtually non-existent at this point, since he retired from UFC after a string of consecutive losses. That's not to imply that his future opponent, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, is a mainstream superstar, but he's probably in a better position than his counterpart.
The bottom line?
Ortiz will cut some memorable promos -- though probably not the ones TNA was hoping for.