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Saturday, October 14, 2006
The backstory was hardly that of an historic sporting event. When Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock first fought in UFC in 2002, Ortiz pounded him and won via a third-round TKO. Their rematch, in July of this year, was even more one-sided, as it took Ortiz just one minute and 18 seconds to ground-and-pound the now-42-year-old Shamrock.
Although Shamrock was obviously hurt and in trouble at the time of the stoppage of the rematch, some believed that referee Herb Dean had halted that contest prematurely. Thus, the UFC hype machine, which endlessly reminded us that these two supposedly hated each other, built an entire non-pay telecast on October 10 around their third meeting, even though virtually anyone who followed mixed martial arts and viewed it as a sport had no doubt who the victor would be, and once again in short order.
Their third fight ended the same as the second, this time in a mere two minutes and 23 seconds. Yet record numbers of viewers tuned in to see what was essentially a soap opera disguised as sport. The rating of the show in the U.S. was 3.1, meaning that it had been on in 2.8 million homes. It also received the largest viewership ever for any UFC fight.
What does this say about the current direction of UFC and the state of mixed martial arts? We start to answer those questions anew in my latest piece on the ADCC News. It is called "UFC's Ortiz-Shamrock 3: The Ultimate Sham".
Read it, learn, enjoy, and comment.