UFC Hall Of Famer Tito Ortiz Training With WWE
One of the biggest MMA stars in the history of the sport has done it all. From championship wins to Hall of Fame rings, Tito Ortiz has made a lasting impact in the cage. Now, it appears “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” will try his luck in another ring.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, the 45-year-old Ortiz has been training at the WWE”s Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. In the report, Meltzer went on to say that WWE staff are saying great things about his work ethic and enthusiasm while training.
A former Light Heavyweight Champion, Ortiz (21-12-1) has dabbled in pro wrestling before. He made a few appearances in Impact Wrestling in 2005 and returned in 2013 as a member of the Aces & Eights stable. Ortiz also has experience fighting pro wrestlers in the octagon, beating Ken Shamrock three times and Stephan Bonnar once. This past December he submitted Alberto El Patron at a Combate Americas event, only needing one round to do so.
Back in December, Ortiz spoke with Wrestling Inc. about appearing int he squared circle during the height of his career.
“I did [have talks with WWE] back in 2002 / 2003,” Ortiz stated. “I believe it was at Seattle at WrestleMania; it was ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin versus The Rock and they brought me backstage. I was still in awe that The Rock was there, and Stone Cold was there, and Brock was there, and I was more of a fan than in my attitude of a fighter… I was a polite, politically correct person outside of the cage as I always am and I think I didn’t catch their attention good enough. If I would have understood that it was a chance to get my foot in the door as a pro wrestler, I think I might have been a little more over the top with how my character likes to fight.”
Ortiz has managed to instill a wrestling personality during his run in MMA. Starting with the UFC in 1997 at UFC 13, the 45-year-old won the Light Heavyweight Title off of Wanderlei Silva in 2000. He defended it five times. During his time in the UFC he had wars with Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin and Frank Shamrock. Ortiz recently fought Liddell one last time at a universally criticized Golden Boy Promotions event. the Team Punishment member has also been a contender with Bellator MMA.
Ortiz wouldn’t be the first MMA fighter who has tried out wrestling. Along with Shamrock and Bonnar, stars like Ronda Rousey, Matt Riddle, Cain Velasquez, Shayna Baszler and Dan Severn have all made an impact in the pro wrestling world.