Few fighters have had as significant an impact on the sport of
mixed martial arts as Tito Ortiz.
In July, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” will be rewarded for those
accomplishments with his induction into the UFC Hall of Fame prior
to his final bout against Forrest
Griffin at UFC
148. UFC President Dana White told MMAWeekly.com of the
decision following UFC
150 press conference on Tuesday. Ortiz is expected to be
inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 6 as part of the UFC Fan
With his enshrinement, Ortiz joins Mark Coleman,
Couture, Royce Gracie,
Liddell, Dan Severn and
Shamrock as the eighth fighter to earn a spot in the Hall of
Fame. Tapout co-founder Charles “Mask” Lewis is also in the
UFC Hall of Fame.
Now 37 years old, Ortiz made his Octagon debut in 1997, defeating
Albritton before falling to Guy Mezger in
tournament bouts at UFC 13. As it turned out, he was just getting
started. Ortiz would compete outside the promotion just once while
compiling a UFC-record 26 career appearances -- Hughes is No. 2
all-time with 25.
Ortiz captured the UFC light heavyweight title in 1999 by defeating
Silva and then successfully defended the belt five straight
times before losing it to Randy
Couture at UFC 44. He would receive one more shot at UFC gold
but came up short against Chuck
Liddell at UFC 66, a fight which drew a live gate of $5.4
million, still the largest MMA gate in Nevada history. Ortiz was
always one of the sport’s biggest draws, and his feuds with
Liddell, Ken Shamrock
and White helped drive MMA to its current level of popularity.
The loss to the “Iceman” marked the beginning of Ortiz’s decline,
as he has gone 1-6-1 in UFC bouts since December 2006. He
experienced a brief return to glory with his upset of Top-10 light
heavyweight Ryan Bader at
UFC 132. The resurgence was short-lived, however, as Ortiz suffered
back-to-back defeats to Rashad
Evans and Antonio
Rogerio Nogueira in his next two outings.
UFC 148 takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and
is headlined by a middleweight title rematch between Anderson
Silva and Chael
Sonnen. Ortiz’s rubber match with Griffin is the final fight on
his current UFC contract.