Tito Ortiz is a true pioneer of mixed-martial-arts, having fought around the world for decades. "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" has announced retirements in the past, but he now promises that his Bellator 170 fight with Chael Sonnen will be his last.
On the conference call ahead of Bellator 170, Ortiz said that the wear and tear on his body is the main reason he is hanging up the gloves.
“This retirement is well due,” Ortiz said. “Twenty years of competition has pretty much, I’d still be fighting if it wasn’t for my surgeries.”
Ortiz has fought professionally since 1997, making his debut at UFC 13 in Augusta, Georgia, years before Dana White and the Fertittas took over the promotion. Two decades of cagefighting has taken a toll on his body, and he knows that it is finally time to rest.
“My biggest enemy has been my surgeries,” Ortiz said. “I’ve had an ACL replaced in my left knee, ACL replaced in my right knee, 50 percent of my meniscus taken out of my right knee, lower back fusion, C-6, C-7 fused in my neck, C-5, C-4 disk replacement, C-4, C-3 fused. I have 26, 27 concussions, hundreds of stitches, I’ve been through the grinder. My biggest enemy has been my body.”
Unlike many of his fellow pioneers, Ortiz fought almost exclusively with the UFC. He stayed with the promotion until 2012, losing to Forrest Griffin at UFC 148. At the time he announced that to be his final fight, but he returned in 2014 under the Bellator banner.
“I want to be remembered as a fighter with integrity,” Ortiz said. “A fighter who did it this way, who has respect because he wanted to push the envelope for the fighters.”