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Goodbye for 'Bad Boy'? Tito Ortiz says Bellator 170 fight will be his last
Bellator 170’s upcoming headliner will apparently be the final fight for MMA legend Tito Ortiz.
The 41-year-old UFC Hall of Famer, former champ and early-MMA superstar has announced he’ll soon call it quits.
Ortiz (18-12-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA), who meets fellow UFC vet Chael Sonnen (28-14-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) at the Jan. 21 event, tweeted news of his pending retirement. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” took a shot at the UFC, which recently canceled a planned pay-per-view event that was scheduled for the same night (via Twitter):
Tito Ortiz ✔@titoortiz
I want to thank @DanaWhite and @UFC for not putting an event the same night of my final fight! #Bellator170 @BellatorMMA@TheForum 1/21/17
12:55 PM - 2 Dec 2016
Bellator 170 takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., and the main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie. UFC 208 was originally planned for Honda Center in Anaheim, but officials scrapped plans for that trip, and a Feb. 11 event in Brooklyn instead will serve as UFC 208.
The UFC’s change of plans assures all MMA eyes will be on Ortiz as he wraps up a 20-year pro career that’s seen plenty of highs and lows.
Ortiz, a former UFC light-heavyweight champion who ruled the division from 1999-2003 with five title defenses, concluded his UFC run in 2012 while on a three-fight skid and overall 1-7-1 slide. Although he initially announced his retirement, he later signed with Bellator in 2013, where he scored a pair of wins over then-middleweight champ Alexander Shlemenko (in a non-title light-heavyweight bout) and Stephan Bonnar. However, after a yearlong layoff, he returned in September 2015 and suffered a submission lossto light-heavyweight champion Liam McGeary to halt his resurgence.
Although Ortiz’s and Sonnen’s best days are likely behind them, their Bellator 170 clash will likely be a big one for Bellator, which has turned to older vets in recent years to bolster ratings.
In fact, the organization drew plenty of eyeballs for a simple kickoff “debate” for the event (MMAjunkie’s Ben Fowlkes discusses it in the above video).