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Introducing ‘The Brian Ortega Line’

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Brian Ortega has set the standard for toughness, heart and grit in MMA

Brian Ortega got his name in the UFC record book at UFC 266. While the record might not be one that Ortega ever thought of earning, it goes a long way toward defining what type of fighter he is. With his loss to Alexander Volkanovski, Ortega became the first fighter in UFC history to absorb over 200 significant strikes in two separate UFC fights.

Like I said, a dubious record, but it is a record nonetheless.

In December 2018, Max Holloway put it on Ortega. The then-champion landed 290 significant strikes in that fight, which the doctor waved off after the fourth round.

In September, “T-City” went five full rounds with Volkanovski. He absorbed 214 significant strikes in that unanimous decision setback (that maybe should have been stopped early.)

With that I would like to propose what I’ll call “The Ortega Line.”

By definition “The Ortega Line” should be considered before one utters the phrase — or some variation of the phrase — “That fighter left everything in the cage.”

Before putting that claim forth, we all need to consider Brian Ortega’s performances against Holloway and Volkanovski. Picture Ortega’s left eye swollen shut in the Holloway scrap. Remember that Ortega, who broke his nose and thumb in that fight, apologized to his coaches at the hospital for losing that fight.

If the performance under consideration beats the gutsiness of the Holloway fight, one then needs to reflect on the effort Ortega put forth against Volkanovski.

Ortega was spent after the third round of that fight. He needed to be helped to his stool. He — let’s be honest — failed the tests the cageside doctor and referee Herb Dean administered to determine if he was fit to go on and still gutted out another 10 minutes.

The injury list from the loss to Volkanovski included a “fractured orbital and some bruised ribs.”

That’s “The Ortega Line.” If one can say a fighter risked more of their immediate — and future — health than Ortega did in those outings, feel free to say that fighter left it all in the cage that night. If the effort doesn’t compare — and I believe few will — use a different description, because, “The Ortega Line” should be how we measure these intangibles in the future.