Stephan Bonner (15-8-0) is set to take on Tito Ortiz (17-8-1) in a grudge match that’s had a turbo boost of publicity since their over-the-top antics at Bellator 123 last week. Just after the King Mo fight ended, Scott Coker called Ortiz and Bonnar to the cage. Wasting no time, Bonnar grabbed the mic in Jimmy Smith’s hands and began to unleash a barrage of semi-scripted attacks against Tito and his fans.
And it didn’t stop there, Bonnar was accompanied by a masked man who later revealed himself as a former friend and cornerman of Ortiz’s with claims of abandonment and betrayal against his former team mate. While his name was never mentioned on air, he was later revealed to be Justin McCully, a former UFC heavyweight and long-time training partner of Tito’s. The on air exchange received criticism from some of the more conservative MMA media outlets and fans and while Bellator President, Scott Coker was running around doing damage control, Bonnar took the opportunity to voice his opinions on the matter on to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.
“I can’t believe people are this stupid,” said Bonnar for on the MMA Hour. “They have all these conspiracy theories. Scott Coker had a show to run. This was Scott Coker’s first show as Bellator president, he had a lot of stuff going on. This was part of it. ‘Hey, let’s bring Bonnar and Tito out.’ The way our contract works, when we go out to stuff like this, we get a plus one. ‘Let’s get them in the ring, ask a question to each guy.'”
“People think that they got us all in an office together with SPIKE TV and the Bellator brass with me and Tito to plan out this elaborate plan,” Bonnar told Helwani. “No. No one knew I was training with Justin McCully or that he was here in Vegas. No one knew that.”
“I mean, come on, I’m a guy who adores guys like Andy Kaufman, or Borat, who pull fast ones on people,” he explained. “I wanted to pull one on Tito. Personally, that disdain for him is completely true, and that’s the reason I didn’t introduce Justin because it didn’t really matter to the crowd. It was for Tito to see.”
“Look, this guy knows you really well and he’s got a a lot of dirt on you, and he’s in my corner,” Bonnar said. “I was pulling this on Tito. I live for stuff like this. When they said they were going to do this, I was excited and I asked Justin what we were going to do. And I knew exactly what I was going to say.”
While some fans have been in an uproar over Bonnar’s somewhat forced attempts to irritate Ortiz, the response has been mostly positive. With Ortiz apparently having been seriously annoyed by the whole production the incident brought an element of unpredictability that is entertaining, comical and intense all at once.