Perhaps the most polarizing figure in UFC history is finally secure in his position amongst the greatest fighters in the history of MMA.
On July 7th, at the UFC Fan Expo, Tito Ortiz will become the ninth fighter enshrined in the UFC Hall of Fame.
Ortiz sure earned his spot in the Hall of Fame with his performances in the Octagon. Ortiz helped propel MMA to the current level that the sport has attained. MMA is the third most popular sport in the world.
For “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy,” his induction was the result of hard word and dedication.
“It is a huge honor to be recognized as one of the greatest fighters of all time by the UFC,” Ortiz said. “To be inducted into the Hall of Fame is final proof that all the hard work and dedication, all the pain and sacrifices, were all worth it. To be able to walk to the Octagon one last time as an official UFC Hall of Fame level fighter is going to be humbling and awesome. I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to end my career on such a high like this.
“I want to thank my family for all their love and support and my fans for sticking with me through the bad times when being a Tito Ortiz fan wasn’t the coolest thing to be. Finally, I want to thank Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White for giving me so many opportunities over the years and for securing the future of the sport I love and have dedicated my life to.”
There are so many memorable matches against big names that come to mind immediately. Ortiz’s grudges with Ken Shamrock and Chuck Liddell captivated the audience and brought many new viewers to the sport.
It will be a perfect ending for Ortiz, win, lose or draw, because he has the opportunity to exit the sport by taking out Forest Griffin, a longtime rival. It will the rubber match for Griffin and Ortiz.
To think that Ortiz is retiring gives older UFC fans a sense of nostalgia. Ortiz has spent 15 years in MMA. It also makes us feel old, no matter our actual age.
When Ortiz is gone you’ll remember his personality but you will miss his elbow assaults. They were as vicious as the UFC will ever see.
Ortiz’s over three year title run is nothing short of amazing. He defeated top competition and you can never take that reign at the top away from him.
UFC President, Dana White put Ortiz in perspective.
“Everyone knows the story of me and Tito and all the things that went on between us. A lot of it wasn’t fun at the time, but all that controversy and craziness is now part of the story of the UFC, and there’s no question that in his prime he was a huge star and one of the greats of his era.
“You can’t write the story of this era of mixed martial arts without Tito Ortiz, and that’s why he belongs in the Hall of Fame. He’s been in the UFC for 15 years – and sticking around that long is an achievement in itself – and now he’s down to just 15 minutes at UFC 148. Believe me, I know how proud and stubborn this guy is and I expect him to use everything he has left as a fighter to go out as a winner at UFC 148.”