Tito Ortiz Calls UFC Hall of Hame Induction “A Huge Honor”, Hoping to End Career “With My Hand Raised”
By FCF Staff
Recently the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced that former light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz will be inducted into the promotion’s Hall of Fame on July 7th. The announcement came of little surprise to longtime MMA observers, as not only was Ortiz the reigning 205 pound champ for a record three and a half years, but the charismatic fighter was one of the sport’s first mainstream stars.
“It is a huge honor to be recognized as one of the greatest fighters of all time by the UFC,” Ortiz said in a press release from the promotion. “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.”
Ortiz will join Matt Hughes, Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis, Mark Coleman, Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, Randy Couture and longtime rival Chuck Liddell in the UFC Hall of Fame.
“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,” UFC President Dana White said about Ortiz.
The 37 year-old-fighter has battled injuries in recent years and has struggled in the Octagon, losing four of his last five bouts, but for some time Ortiz was widely viewed as one of the world’s top fighters.
“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 15years – and sticking around that long is an achievement in itself – and now he’s down to just 15minutes 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,” White adde, in referring to Ortiz’s upcoming, July 7th rubber match with Forrest Griffin.
Ortiz (16-10) defeated Griffin by split decision in April, 2006, before the former TUF star avenged the loss in November, 20090 with his own split decision victory.
“My name will probably always be linked with guys like Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell and especially Ken Shamrock,” Ortiz said. “But the fights with Forrest were as good and competitive as any of them. When I first fought him, he was inexperienced and made a name for himself in doing so well against me. The next time we fought I was supposed to be over the hill, and I showed that I wasn’t finished by long shot.
“Now, I just want to prove I was the better fighter all along by winning the rubber match. I don’t want to go out on a sour note – I want everyone’s last image of me to be me in the center of the Octagon with my hand raised.”
UFC 148 will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.