The man known as “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” stuck around in MMA longer than most.
Tito Ortiz was one of the UFC’s pioneers, taking part in some historic matches complete with bad blood and the type of notoriety that helped put the sport on the map.
Ortiz, who is a former UFC light heavyweight champion, made his last appearance in the octagon for Bellator earlier this year. He ended his career on a high note, scoring a submission victory over former title contender Chael Sonnen.
Ortiz has entered and come out of retirement before, but the legend recently stated he’s content calling it a career after two decades of fighting in the cage. “As a fighter, it’s time to say it’s over after 20 years of competition.”
The 42-year-old has had eight surgeries over the course of his career, and a number of ups and downs. He’s been on the giving and receiving end of many memorable finishes, and served as one the UFC’s first “trash talkers,” using his penchant for self-promotion to draw additional interest in high-profile fights.
While many fighters struggle to adjust once they leave active competition, Ortiz says this isn’t the case for him. “I’m doing well, man. Just working hard and chasing this American dream, and I’m living it.”
Ortiz went straight to the big leagues, winning his MMA debut at UFC 13 by TKO-ing Wes Albritton in just 31 seconds. In his first five years of competition, he went 10-2 and captured the (then vacant) UFC light heavyweight championship from PRIDE FC legend Wanderlei Silva. Ortiz defended the belt five times, serving as one of the promotion’s most consistent champions in its early days.
Ortiz scored three victories over UFC legend Ken Shamrock, a feud that was known for the deep animosity between the two men. In their final meeting, Ortiz initially taunted his foe following the victory. However, the two put their differences aside in front of an ecstatic crowd in a showing of mutual respect.
Ortiz was also known for his vocal rivalry with former friend Chuck Liddell, whom he competed against twice. Their second meeting helped UFC score a 1.1 million buy rate, which was a first for the promotion.
Ortiz went on a skid later in his career as injuries took their toll, but he shocked the world with a submission victory over high-ranked Ryan Bader back in 2011. Though he’d never recapture the success he once had, Ortiz retires with a record of 19-12-1 and a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame.
Oritz, who came from a wrestling background, also competed in the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission World Championship. He’s provided MMA commentary and analysis, and even made appearances in the Total Nonstop Action professional wrestling promotion.
Ortiz’s charisma has also helped him find work on the big screen. He has a role in the upcoming Boo 2! A Madea Halloween. Ortiz is currently tied for the most fights in UFC history (27) with Frank Mir and Michael Bisping.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons