An Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Hall of Famer says he is coming out of retirement to stop the spread "of the virus that's known as Tito Ortiz," something Stephan Bonnar claims is manifested by the Bad Boy of Huntington Beach's "boring fights for too many years."
S to the NAP, girlfriend. This is like Arnie Palmer calling out Jack Nicklaus!
Near as I can tell, Bonnar's remarks were first carried in MMA Fighting's report on a multi-fight deal he is signing with Bellator MMA, joining a stable of light heavyweights that already includes Ortiz.
The full Bonnar blast:
"I want everyone to know I'm coming out of retirement because it's time to free the MMA world of the virus that's known as Tito Ortiz. We've been suffering through his boring fights for too many years, and it's about time that someone beats it out of him once and for all."
Now, I've never sniffed a tea leaf, rubbed a tarot card or given much heed to that joker Nostradamus, but my own reading between the lines of a coming-out-of-retirement statement like that would be someone's angling for a Ortiz-Bonnar fight.
My Columbo nose hairs tingle even more when I read this from Bellator President Scott Coker (no relation … that I know of, heh-heh):
"When you look at our light heavyweight division, with names like Rampage, Tito, King Mo, Emanuel Newton and others, there are a lot of fights Stephan can be involved in. Big fights against big names. After talking to Stephan, I know that's what he wants, and we want to provide that to our fans."
There's been bad Bonnar-Ortiz blood for years. Ortiz publicly criticized Bonnar's induction into the UFC Hall of Fame in July 2013, explaining, "I have nothing against the guy, but you've got to be a world champion, I think, to be in the Hall of Fame."
Bonnar reacted back then by calling for a fight, saying with mocking glee, "I'm gonna help him out. We all know he's broke. We know Jenna took all his money. You know, Punishment Clothing–the only people I see wearing that nowadays are homeless people. His management company, you know–not making any money there. So I'm gonna help the poor guy get paid."
At 37 and 6-foot-4, Bonnar is two years younger and two inches taller than Ortiz.