In The Ultimate Fighting Championship®, no feud has been more inspired than the one featuring light heavyweight legends Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. The long-standing rivalry between “The Iceman” and “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” has featured two, historic clashes inside the famed Octagon®, each of which was filled with heated exchanges, intense bravado, and passionate displays of athleticism. What’s more, each Liddell-Ortiz encounter left fans choosing sides in this epic rivalry.
In professional sports, fans live for rivalries. Whether it’s Boston vs. New York in baseball, Toronto vs. Montreal in hockey, or Ohio State vs. Michigan in football, fans have a burning desire to see their favorite teams soundly defeat eternal adversaries. Regardless of standings, rankings, or championships on the line, fans believe wins over bitter rivals are of the utmost importance.
In 2010, MMA’s biggest feud takes on a whole new meaning. In what will be one of the most hotly-contested seasons ever, Liddell and Ortiz have been selected to face off as coaches of Spike TV’s most popular original series ever, The Ultimate Fighter®. Scheduled to premiere on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 10:00pm ET/PT, two of the sport’s biggest icons will lead their respective teams in a season that will produce fireworks never-before-seen in the Liddell-Ortiz saga.
“The world knows that there is no love lost between Tito and Chuck,” UFC President Dana White said. “These two guys will do whatever it takes to beat each other. Whether it’s fighting or checkers, Chuck wants to beat Tito and Tito wants to beat Chuck. On Season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter, we’ll see which legend can score the upper hand when it comes to coaching the next batch of rising stars.”
A native of Santa Barbara, Calif., Liddell (21-7) served as coach of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter in January 2005. Known for his phenomenal striking ability and staunch takedown defense, “The Iceman” earned his way into the UFC Hall of Fame by defeating the likes of Vitor Belfort, Renato Sobral, Randy Couture (twice), and Ortiz (twice). Considered by many as the greatest 205-pound fighter ever, Liddell believes he will score another victory when he coaches opposite Ortiz next year.
“I am excited for the opportunity to coach on The Ultimate Fighter, especially since I get a chance to beat Tito again,” said Liddell, who became a pop culture icon with appearances on hit programs such as “Dancing with the Stars, “Entourage,” and “The Apprentice”. “This is a perfect chance for me to help young fighters grow and it’s a chance for me to get another win against Tito.”
The longest-reigning champion in UFC history, Ortiz (16-7-1) once held the light heavyweight title for nearly four years. An outstanding wrestler with vicious ground and pound, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” owns wins over some of the sport’s elite, including Belfort, Forrest Griffin, Wanderlei Silva, as well as three victories over Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock. A coach on season three of The Ultimate Fighter, Ortiz returns to the show holding the firm belief that he will finally knock off his arch nemesis.
“This season of the show is important to me in so many ways,” said Ortiz, who appeared on the hit series “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2008. “I love coaching and I’m happy that I can give my fighters a chance to become better athletes. Plus, I think I’m a better coach than Chuck. I think my guys are going to be hungry and ready to smash Chuck’s guys. I can’t wait to see his face when that happens.”