"Two weeks before the fight, I was wrestling with one of my partners, and we collided heads. I fractured my orbital bone. I don't remember the weigh-ins. I don't remember the fight. All I remember was the beginning of the third round." --Tito Ortiz, speaking to MMAJunkie.com during the promotional circuit for "The Ultimate Fighter 11."
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Ignoring the questionable notion that a concussion sustained two weeks before a fight would result in memory loss the night of the fight, Ortiz's explanation for losing to Forrest Griffin in November still amounts to stupidity without equal. As a combat-sports athlete responsible for his own health, Ortiz should be cognizant of the research -- and concern -- about second-impact syndrome: An athlete who suffers a concussion on top of an existing concussion is in danger of suffering the serious condition known as death.
Athletic commissions have an obligation to protect combatants, but only to the point at which common sense should take over. A prefight MRI, if Ortiz had one, could come back "clean," but he still might be unfit to fight. Memory loss is a pretty good clue.
In making this admission -- and assuming it's not mere hyperbole -- Ortiz might be expecting to be lauded for a brave performance in the face of adversity. I find it thoughtless and ill-advised, particularly with a family waiting for him at home. Stupid.