Seeing that this September will be the 10 year anniversary of my favorite fight, I decided to reflect on the magnitude that surrounded one of the greatest match ups in MMA history. Also, I invite you to share your favorite fight and thoughts with the rest of the SciFighting community; it’s important that we talk about these things.
Well, it’s hardly disputable that UFC 44 wasn’t one of the best ppv events in sports history. Recall the line up. On one card, we had Andre Arlovski, Rich Franklin, Karo Parisyan, Nick Diaz, and Tim Silvia among others, who all battled their hearts and blood out to victory. The fights that took place involving these athletes was a treat in itself, but the most delightful was yet to come.
UFC 44: UNDISPUTED saw Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz face off for UFC Light Heavyweight Champsionship.
It was ten years ago, but I still feel the effects of the fight in 2013, and I would argue that UFC 44 was the end of the old MMA and the violent birth of a new one. To advance my point, I see Randy and Tito as symbols of two generations colliding and creating something brilliant. Randy Couture, 40, met Tito Ortiz, 28, in the highly anticipated match that had fans following every step the two fighters took towards the Octagon. The intense workout training that both men endured leading up to the fight certainly paid off in spectacular fashion as Couture and Ortiz pummeled one another well into the fifth round. Blows were traded, takedowns stuffed, takedowns rewarded, and enough ground and pound was shared for everyone to enjoy. However, at the end of the day, Mr. Couture, a.k.a “Captain America,” claimed the victory in unanimous decision, leaving with the UFC Light Heavyweight Belt around his waist and sporting his trademark grin to the crowd.
Some regard the fight as a “spanking,” both in the literal and figurative sense, but the truth remains that this fight cemented itself the annals of UFC’s greatest moments. Here two generations of mixed martial arts collided, arguably for the first and most significant time, with fighters, fans, and the press taking note of Randy’s age, Tito’s youth, and the determination of each man to establish his will and dominance over the other.
Coming from his brutal treatment of Ken Shamrock, many fans expected Tito to dominate the aging Couture, but if any plans were ever foiled, they were foiled on September 26, 2003. Couture signaling this truth in one moment of third round when Tito, stuffed against the cruel cage of the Octagon, bared his bottom to the sky, only to have Couture gently rap him on the behind. Tito’s spanking caused uproar in the crowd and no doubt, fury within the Octagon, but Couture managed to control the youngster and his emotions. Perhaps this action was Courture’s physical commentary on the age gap that stirred such a great amount of controversy and hogged up much of the coverage time leading up to the fight. Perhaps Couture was saying, “It doesn’t matter who you are or how old I am, I will still spank you.” Whatever the cause, the fight was as explosive and colorful as a July 4th evening. From the press to the fight and to the moment of victory for Couture, the highlight of UFC 44 has been one of the best highlights of the MMA world for a decade.