The UFC confirmed this week that Tito Ortiz will be the ninth individual to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. Ortiz will officially be inducted on July 7 at the UFC Fan Expo, so he will be entering the cage for the final fight later that night against Forrest Griffin as a confirmed UFC Hall of Famer.
"It is a huge honor to be recognized as one of the greatest fighters of all time by the UFC," Ortiz said. "To be inducted into the Hall of Fame is final proof that all the hard work and dedication, all the pain and sacrifices, were all worth it. To be able to walk to the Octagon one last time as an official UFC Hall of Fame level fighter is going to be humbling and awesome. I'm very grateful to have this opportunity to end my career on such a high like this.
"I want to thank my family for all their love and support and my fans for sticking with me through the bad times when being a Tito Ortiz fan wasn't the coolest thing to be. Finally, I want to thank Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White for giving me so many opportunities over the years and for securing the future of the sport I love and have dedicated my life to."
Ortiz is the first inductee since 2010, and joins Matt Hughes, MMA pioneer Charles 'Mask' Lewis, Mark Coleman, Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn as well as contemporaries Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture in the pantheon of Octagon immortals.
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"Everyone knows the story of me and Tito and all the things that went on between us," said UFC President Dana White. "A lot of it wasn't fun at the time, but all that controversy and craziness is now part of the story of the UFC, and there's no question that in his prime he was a huge star and one of the greats of his era.
"You can't write the story of this era of mixed martial arts without Tito Ortiz, and that's why he belongs in the Hall of Fame. He's been in the UFC for 15years – and sticking around that long is an achievement in itself – and now he's down to just 15minutes at UFC 148. Believe me, I know how proud and stubborn this guy is and I expect him to use everything he has left as a fighter to go out as a winner at UFC 148."
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