UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz is trying to organize a group of former UFC fighters to invade the UFC 20th Anniversary show on Nov. 16.
Ortiz, who will battle Quinton “Rampage” Jackson on Nov. 2 in Bellator’s first Pay-Per-View event, has invited Ken Shamrock, Frank Shamrock, Jackson and Randy Couture, to take part in a WWE-style invasion of WCW.
So far, Ken Shamrock is in and Frank Shamrock is out.
Ortiz is smart to draw attention to himself and his fellow UFC colleagues, who are now on the outs with UFC President Dana White. Bellator is the No. 2 MMA organization in the world, so it needs to take some big risks if it wants to make big progress.
Bellator is probably not sanctioning Ortiz’s efforts, but the company benefits nonetheless. If a majority of fans see the UFC as the No. 1 MMA company in the world, Ortiz only helps Bellator by linking the two companies together, even if it is through an artificial, contrived link.
The truth is that it is unfair that these guys have been somewhat exiled from the UFC history books. They aren’t scandal-clouded ex-athletes who did something shameful to their support who now deserve shunning. Their sin? They criticized White.
When you are talking about the history of the UFC, and players who made a difference when it mattered, all of those guys did, and they all deserve to be recognized by the UFC. Ken Shamrock, Ortiz and Couture are still three of the few household names in MMA.
If these guys bought tickets and entered the MGM Grand Arena for the show, it’s not likely that the UFC would put a camera on them. But that’s not the point. There’s no doubt the fans would go nuts over the drama. The attention would give Bellator a spark that it needs. More eyes may start watching.
If Bellator and its fighters want to make a dent among fans, in terms of popularity of the brands, it won’t hurt if some of its elder stars try to stir up some trouble. As No. 2 trying to be No. 1, Bellator really benefits from any kind of connection or tie with the UFC.