From a distance, it looked like the same old Chuck Liddell who came walking down to the cage Saturday night.
He had the same haircut, the same goatee. He had some version of the same malicious intensity in his eyes. He even had on the same shorts, blue and white and advertising a website that now seems to redirect to nowhere.
And yeah, maybe that should have been our first sign that we were headed for trouble. He didn’t even check to see if the url still worked. He just grabbed an old pair of shorts and figured he’d get out there and beat up Tito Ortiz again like he’d always done before. Why not? Except for, you know, the inevitable ravages of age.
If you were in need for a grim reminder that the human body is a slow-motion trainwreck, or that time is the enemy of beauty, then the main event of Golden Boy MMA in Inglewood, Calif., was the fight for you.
Step right up, friend. Pay your $39.99 on pay-per-view, or else just seek out a clip on the Internet afterward, and then immediately feel bad about yourself for participating at all.
It wasn’t really Liddell’s fault. He retired eight years ago in a mostly involuntary fashion when UFC President Dana White decided he’d rather give Liddell money for nothing than see him get knocked out in a prizefight ever again. That deal was too good to pass up, especially given the dwindling alternatives, so Liddell took it. Then the UFC got sold and the gravy train derailed, stranding Liddell in a world where all his old pals were somehow new again, leveraging their former fame for present riches.
How could he stay away? How could he resist the chance to thump on his old nemesis one more time? After all, in two fights with Ortiz he’d hardly been touched. If there was anyone out there he could still beat up for money, wasn’t it this guy?
But no, not anymore. Not in the year 2018. It wasn’t so much that Ortiz had gotten better (though certainly that’s the version of the truth Ortiz is selling) but rather that Liddell has gotten worse. Much, much worse.
It makes sense. He’s 48, eight years removed from his last pro fight, and he was exhibiting signs of age-related decline even back then. When he shuffled out to meet Ortiz in the center of the cage on Saturday night, it quickly became clear that his tools had only dulled in the years since we’d last seen him attempt a looping overhand right.
That’s what made this extra sad. Within half a minute, everyone in the building could see that there was nothing Liddell could do to hurt Ortiz. Not this time. His punches came as slow pantomimes of the real thing. His whole body seemed to creak with the effort. At times Ortiz couldn’t keep from smiling in these exchanges. This was going to be easier than he thought.
The best thing you can say about the fight is that it was mercifully brief. As much as it hurt to see Liddell search for a higher gear that just wasn’t there, it would have only gotten worse as the rounds wore on. When Ortiz landed a straight right hand in the dead center of his face, even Liddell’s reaction to the blow was delayed, as if it took a second for his brain to tell the rest of his body that they were all done here.
To Ortiz, it probably felt like vindication. He’d scored the only standing one-punch KO of his career, and he did it against the man who tormented him back when they were both young and beautiful. Does that mean he’s the better fighter? Not really. It just means he’s the better fighter right now, the one least diminished by the cruel march of time.
As for the rest of us, we got what we deserved. Not a good fight. Not even a very good time. Just a sad reminder that some things will never be like they were, and that those includes you and them and everyone you know. Somehow this predictable lesson still cost 40 bucks.
In that, too, maybe Ortiz got the last laugh. Please, for the love of God, let it be the last.
Source : https://mmajunkie.com/2018/11/did-we-get-what-we-wanted-from-tito-ortiz-vs-chuck-liddell-3