*takes a seat in rocking chair, lights up corn cob pipe*
You know, kids, there used to be a time when words like “retirement,” “marriage,” and “my totally real dead girlfriend” used to mean something. Perhaps it was just a simpler time back then, but when a man (or a woman that had somehow shoehorned her way into an office environment) gathered his co-employees around and announced that he was hanging it up, it was meant to be permanent. Bill Russell never came back. Vince Lombardi never came back. Pete Maravich tried to come back and dropped dead on the spot. Retirement was supposed to be a one way street, paved with early bird discounts, cheap medications, and eventually death. Sweet, sweet death. But then Muhammed Ali had to go and ruin everything.
*sets down pipe to chase Jehovah’s Witnesses down sidewalk*
In the past couple years, we’ve seen such notable fighters as Jamie Varner, Matt Hamill, and Chris Lytle announce their retirement from MMA. Of those three, the first two have already returned to the sport, and the latter has suggested that he would fight again under the right circumstances. And now, you can add UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz to the list of fighters who feel they might have called it a career a bit early. In an interview with BloodyElbow, Ortiz stated that he would be open to the idea of coming out of retirement, but only once all of the injuries that have plagued his MMA career since ever were finally dealt with:
Right now, I’m only four weeks out of neck surgery, and then I have to get the ACL surgery. I still need to recover from that before I start thinking about anything, and if I’ll compete again. You never know, I may come out of retirement. It’s all about how my body recovers.
Having collected just one win in the past six years, it’s safe to say that Ortiz has yet to come to the conclusion that his buddy and fellow UFC HOFer Chuck Liddell has: It’s not a question of whether you still want to compete or not, it’s a question of whether you still can. And for a guy who exaggerates his injuries as bad as Ortiz does, it would be best to assume that the former LHW champ is being optimistic over realistic here. This notion would be driven home when Ortiz declared that he would come out of retirement “without hesitation” to fight, you guessed it, Frank
Stallone Shamrock, the notorious UFC castaway who punched Ortiz into submission way back at UFC 22. On my personal list of fantasy fights, that rematch is just below Michael Bisping vs. Fedor on Zeus’ shoulders, and they can both punch but only Zeus can kick.
Of course, Ortiz didn’t state outright that he planned on coming out of retirement, and in fact seemed to be leaning towards the opposite. Mainly, towards that of his budding career in fighter management, which has already gotten off to a great start:
Right now, the number one priority for me is to run my businesses. I want to show that I’m a great businessman. I’ve shown that through my clothing company, and now I want to focus on my management company. I want to focus on my family and give my children all the things that I never had. Right now, the chances of me coming out of retirement are about 1 in a million.
I’m sick of surgeries. I don’t want to have to worry about possibly getting paralyzed or sustaining some lifelong injury. I have three kids I have to take care of. I have a family to take care of. That’s the number one thing in my life. I was able to make a lot of money with the UFC, and I’m so thankful to them for that. I worked very hard to get to where I am today, and I just want to be the father that I never had growing up.
Oh, Tito, you sly dog you. First you tell us it’s just a matter of some nagging injuries needing to be addressed, and now all of a sudden you’ve got this “family” and these “health concerns” to worry about? Well, you’ll excuse me, but I ain’t buying it. Start the twitter-bombing campaign now, Potato Nation: ORTIZ vs. (Frank) SHAMROCK II at UFC 157!! WHO’S WITH ME?!