With Tito Ortiz facing Chael Sonnen, the Main Event of Bellator 170 is expected to be a must-watch match, thanks to the bad blood that has been bubbling between former UFC Light Heavyweight Champ Ortiz and the always "colorful" Chael Sonnen.
The 41 year-old Ortiz, who is competing for the first time since losing to Light Heavyweight Champion Liam McGeary on at Bellator 142 September 19 2015, says it was Sonnen who made things personal between them.
"You know I've worked really hard for the business of mixed martial arts for the last 19-and-a-half years," Ortiz, said at the Bellator 170 press conference. "I've tasted the dirt side. I've tasted being broke. I've been in the dumps, I've lived in motels as a kid. I want a different opportunity for my children. I never want them to see those things. Never any type of drugs, any type of thing of that nature. So I worked hard for this. For him to talk about my car being repo'd, him saying the things he has, about me going broke -- I take that very personal. I'm a person that's been fueled on emotions. And any fan who's ever been around any of my fights, I'm the only fighter who'd go out on the concourse to sign autographs the day of the fight. Because I'm in love with my fans. My fans have been there for me over the last 19-and-a-half years. For this clown to come in and say the stuff he is, hey, I'm glad he doesn't fight as well as he talks."
Ortiz and Sonnen, 39, do have a history that dates back to nearly two decades ago, to when Sonnen defeated Ortiz in an amateur wrestling contest.
"I wrestled him 20 years ago," Ortiz said. "He wrestled at Oregon University, the Ducks, I wrestled at Cal-State Bakersfield, the Roadrunners. I wrestled at 190 pounds. We dual-meeted up in Oregon, and he moved up to my weight from 177 pounds to my weight at 190. I went for an underhook, he hit me with a headlock and put me on my back and pinned me on my birthday, in about 30 seconds. And I felt I had so much more to prove. So I went on to my career. I became the first light heavyweight champion, defending if for five consecutive times, and I was able to make a very luscious and successful career out of what I've been doing, and I've been doing it for the last 19 years."
Bellator 170, the first Bellator MMA event of 2017, takes place on Saturday, January 21 from The Forum in Inglewood, California with Tito Ortiz and Chael Sonnen headlining.