ill lay my cards on the table first and admit im a huge Tito fan, he is, or was, the soul reason i ended up hooked to mma.
i even flew over from Ireland for his first fight with Liddell (oh the agony)
ill try and be as unbiased as i can, but it will be difficult
pretty much covered all the bases for me. Tito really did drag the sport, kicking and screaming into the mainstream, love him or hate, rate him or not, the man held a huge weight on his shoulders and carried it well.
as for his fighting legacy.
the injuries killed him. Are most of you lads english? he's nearly a Michael Owen, or Robbie Fowler type character, super talented, yet once one injury set in, the rest just snow balled.
i remember i used to frequent the message boards on Titos official website many moons ago, and during the training camp for Titos fight with Randy a training partner of Titos was on the site telliing us all that Tito had a back injury that prevented him from lifting his leg above his waste. So that was more than likely the start of these back injuries he's recently had surgery on.
only 1 year before that he had an ACL surgery. I think he returned in something like 7 months with that. most athletes need a year off for that.
its often the case that the difference between true greats, and nearly men, is injuries. Im not saying Tito would still be champ. But injuries definetly played a part in his career.
i still believe if he had of fought Chuck straight after the Shamrock fight he would have won. He was on such a dominating role then, and his cardio was so bloody good, that i belive he'd have beaten Chuck in a similar fashion that Rampage did in the pride MW tournament. But again, thats maybe me thinking with my "punishment hat" on
Tito deserves his place in the hall of fame, he certainly entertained us over the years. nobody can deny that