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Tito Ortiz Details Why He’s Retiring

Tito Ortiz at Bellator 131 Open Workouts in San Diego, CA November 12th 2014. Photo credit: Luca Rajabi for SciFighting, LLC.

MMA great Tito Ortiz fights for the last time at Bellator 170 on January 21. On January 23, The People’s Champ turns 43. He will be fighting Chael Sonnen, 39.

During a recent Bellator 170 media call, Ortiz detailed why he is retiring. Ortiz has been criticized over the years online for dramatic references to injuries; however, his medical issues are all too real. This is a clip of surgery being performed on Ortiz’s neck.

“This retirement is well due,” said Ortiz, as transcribed by Dave Doyle for MMA Fighting. “Twenty years of competition has pretty much, I’d still be fighting if it wasn’t for my surgeries.”

“My biggest enemy has been my surgeries. 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.”


“I want to be remembered as a fighter with integrity. A fighter who did it this way, who has respect because he wanted to push the envelope for the fighters.”

This is in fact Ortiz’s second retirement. The first followed a loss to Forrest Griffin in 2012. Shortly afterward, he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. However, after going 1-7-1 in the UFC, Ortiz found a new career with Bellator. In 2014 he tapped then Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko, and took a split decision over fellow UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar. That earned him a title shot at then Bellator light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary, which he lost via submission.

Next week he fights Chael Sonnen, and then he’s done.

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Aaron Portier
Highly passionate MMA Journalist, and I've followed the sport ever since my favorite fighter, Vitor Belfort won the heavyweight tournament at UFC 12. After that I've tried to go to every local MMA event around the Gulf Coast and surrounding areas and decided to make it a point to have a career in some aspect in the fighting sport other than fighting in general (didn't want to ruin my face). I'm currently enrolled at Southeastern Louisiana University working towards a degree in Communication. I cover MMA, Boxing and Football for The Daily Star newspaper in my hometown of Hammond, Louisiana, in addition to working as a promotional writer for a local Boxing promotion known as BoxnCar and I cover boxing for 8countnews.com however SciFighting.com is my home. My main goal is to bring more publicity to MMA in my area and to the sport as a whole as all of us involved with the sport are merely scratching the surface and laying the foundation of what mixed martial arts competition will be further down the road.