21 of the biggest rivalries in MMA history [UPDATED]

UFC 229: Khabib v McGregor Press Conference
UFC 229: Khabib v McGregor Press Conference / Steven Ryan/GettyImages
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Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock

This final rivalry began long before these two fighters were ever set to face each other in the cage. Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock had a long history of hate towards one another. The hate can be traced back to 1999 when Ortiz defeated Jerry Bohlander at UFC 18. Bohlander was a teammate of Shamrock and he was there at the fight as Bohlander’s cornerman. Ortiz put on an obscene shirt following his win and immediately made enemies with Shamrock and his “Lion’s Den” team. One fight later at UFC 19 Ortiz again took a shot at Shamrock and his team when he beat Guy Mezger and flipped off the Lion’s Den guys.

Shamrock was upset by this and jumped onto the cage wall and began yelling at Ortiz. The two had to be separated. Both fighters were so worked up backstage that police were called. The fact that these two men had to settle the score inside the cage was inevitable. The first scheduled meeting was at UFC 40: Vendetta. The matchup was a title bout and many fans thought Shamrock had the advantage because he was the bigger man. The event was sold out and set an all-time high Pay-Per-View record for the time. Ortiz, it turned out was too much for Shamrock and his corner threw in the towel in the fourth round.

The bad blood wasn’t finished yet between these two men. The rematch was scheduled for UFC 61: Bitter Rivals and was just as much anticipated as the first. Once again the PPV numbers were record-breaking, unfortunately, this fight only lasted less than one round. Ortiz defeated Shamrock by first-round TKO.

The third fight was set in 2006, Shamrock was 42 years old. The matchup was one-sided and once again Ortiz knocked Shamrock out in the first round. The two seemed to settle their feud after the fight. This rivalry was more than just fighting this hatred between these two men help catapult the UFC to what it is today. In the early 200’s many believe that it was this rivalry between Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock that saved the UFC from bankruptcy. The popularity if the sport grew because of these men.

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