Tito Ortiz vs. Oscar De La Hoya: Battle of the Book Signings
Tito Ortiz and Oscar De La Hoya are going head-to-head tonight...sort of. The arenas - bookstores. Tito is signing copies of his book at the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood while Oscar will be signing copies of his book at Barnes & Noble in The Grove.
In the last five years, mixed martial arts has experienced a surge in popularity, thanks largely to the mainstream emergence of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. With MMA on the rise and it's cousin in combat sports, boxing currently holding on for dear life, the debate over which is the superior sport is rampant. Despite the fact that the two sports are quite different, the war of words wages on (a Google search for "MMA vs boxing" brings back 10,700 results).
Some believe the best way to put this argument to rest is by throwing a boxer in the ring or octagon with an MMA fighter. Floyd Mayweather Jr., considered by many to be the best boxer in the world and one of the few remaining relevant fighters the sport currently has to offer, made the following suggestion in an interview last year:
"We should put (Chuck) Liddell against a good heavyweight, under Mayweather Promotions, and if Chuck wins, then I’ll give him a million dollars out of my own pocket. These are guys who couldn’t make it in boxing."
At this time, no such matchup between boxers and MMA fighters has taken place, unless you count Butterbean or any of the other washed up boxers who have taken a beating in less than stellar MMA leagues just to pay their bills, and you really shouldn't count those.
Today, however, that all comes to an end, sort of but not really, when two of the biggest names in their respective sports, Tito Ortiz and Oscar De La Hoya, go head-to-head...with competing book signings.
It's going to be Huntington Beach versus East LA, Bad Boy versus Golden Boy, Simon & Schuster versus HarperCollins in a battle of the book signings! What could be more exciting? An actual fight, that's what. We're not going to get a real fight between a big name MMA guy and a big name boxer, so just enjoy the metaphorical manufactured one that these book signings have given us.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion, Ortiz will be signing copies of his book, This is Gonna Hurt: The Life of a Mixed Martial Arts Champion tonight at the Virgin (insert Jenna Jameson joke here) Megastore in Hollywood at 7pm.
Meanwhile, exactly three miles away at Barnes & Noble in The Grove, 10-time world champion (and fishnet stocking model) De La Hoya will be signing copies of his new book, American Son: My Story, at 7:30pm.
Which signing are you going to? Who is going to draw a bigger crowd? Which book written by a guy who gets hit in the head for a living will have fewer typos? These are just a few of the questions we have heading into this "matchup." To get some answers we turned to the Orange County Register's Carlos Arias, who writes extensively on both boxing and MMA for the Keep Punching Blog.
LAist: Whose book signing do you think will draw a bigger crowd?
Carlos Arias: I'm going to say Oscar because he is an absolutely huge crossover star. Oscar is the biggest thing in combat sports. It's not even close. I just started Tito's book and it's an honest open look at his life, but I think Oscar remains a bigger name.
Who had a bigger impact on their sport?
Oscar is the biggest thing to hit boxing since Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Leonard. He also has taken it to another level for fighters as businessmen. Tito is following in Oscar's footsteps and I think he will openly agree with that. He's trying to get MMA fighters to see that they should follow Oscar's business model and get paid accordingly.
Why does the boxing versus MMA debate continually come up?
I don't understand this debate. I love fights. I appreciate boxing and MMA for the sports that they are. I don't think of them as sports competing against each other. I see the great things about both sports. Fight fans should appreciate both sports because both are so exciting. Unfortunately, in the U.S. we have this thing about heavyweights and KOs. The best fights are in the lower weight classes. Why can't we appreciate the lower classes and the technicians and ground work of MMA fighters?
Tito fans and Oscar fans may be completely different people with two different views on the world of combat sports, but it seems as though both can agree that spending a Tuesday night standing in a long line to have a short awkward conversation with a fighter while he signs his name on a book sounds like a good time.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu (Tito Ortiz) and AP Photo/Chris Carlson (Oscar De La Hoya)