Tito Ortiz is a legend of MMA. One of the first long-reigning champions in UFC history, Ortiz became one of the sports first big stars, built on the back of trash talk and blood feuds. And even at age 43, with the best years of his career behind him, Ortiz is still pioneering, being the first fighter to still be actively competing while being retired.
Retirements in combat sports, and MMA in particular, are notoriously short-lived, but Ortiz is taking it to a new level. Despite retiring two years ago when he submitted Chael Sonnen at Bellator 170, Ortiz recently took a revenge fight with Chuck Liddell, knocking out his former foe in the first round. Now, Ortiz is looking to settle affairs with Sonnen one more time, all while remaining retired.
[Chael] started it, Ortiz told TMZ Sports recently. As Chuck started it. And Chuck only lasted what, four and a half minutes? He called me out man. Im gonna stay in retirement. Im still gonna stay retired, and Im gonna smash Chael. Im not gonna choke him, Im not gonna submit him, Im gonna smash him. Ill put a show on for every one of the fans. Thats what Im gonna do.
Sonnen and Ortiz have been sniping at each other over social media recently, laying the groundwork for a rematch of their first bout, which was surprisingly non-competitive. But, after losing to Fedor Emelianenko in the semifinals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix, Sonnen is without an obvious next dance partner and Ortiz still carries some level of star power. Ortiz is only too happy to oblige him.
This guy has a loud mouth, Ortiz said. Im gonna shut him up. Like I say: Im not gonna choke him, Im not gonna submit him, Im gonna pummel him for three rounds. And give the fans what they want to see, and thats a great fight.
As for where the proposed bout will happen, Ortizs brief time with Golden Boy MMA seems to be over, with The Huntington Beach Bad Boy saying the fight would most likely come under the Bellator banner and that he is pushing for a fight at the Mecca, Madison Square Garden so he can make some more history.
I dont know [where], said Ortiz. Ive never fought at Madison Square Garden, so possibly Madison Square Garden. Thatll be the first thing.
I was the first UFC fighter mixed martial artist to ever fight in California. First one. First one to fight in Las Vegas. First one. First one to fight in Florida. First one. So, Id like to just add to my repertoire of being able to go to Madison Square Garden and fight. Where the greatest have fought. People like Ali, people like Frazier, people like Foreman. Just to do something great for mixed martial arts, at the expense of Chael Sonnen.