The upcoming UFC Fan Expo is set to host the induction of Tito Ortiz (16-10-1 MMA, 15-10-1 UFC), "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy," into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Officials on Thursday announced the ceremony will take place at noon PT on July 7 at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Events Center, which hosts the two-day Expo as part of UFC 148's fight festivities.
"It is a huge honor to be recognized as one of the greatest fighters of all time by the UFC," Ortiz stated. "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."
Ortiz is set to make his final octagon appearance when he meets
Forrest Griffinat UFC 148, which takes place July 7 at MGM Grand Garden Arena, mere hours after his induction. The co-main event fight, which airs on pay-per-view, serves as a rubber match between the former champions, who split a pair of bouts in 2006 and 2009.
"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," Ortiz added. "I'm very grateful to have this opportunity to end my career on such a high like this."
While candid about his rocky relationship with the fighter, UFC president Dana White praised Ortiz's contribution to the promotion.
"Everyone knows the story of me and Tito and all the things that went on between us," White stated. "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 15 years – and sticking around that long is an achievement in itself – and now he's down to just 15 minutes 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."
Following a triumphant upset submission over
Ryan Baderat this past July's UFC 132, Ortiz has suffered losses to Rashad Evansand Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and is 1-6-1 since 2006.
Ortiz won the light-heavyweight title at UFC 25 with a decision over Wanderlei Silva and defended it five times before losing the belt to Randy Couture at UFC 44. He failed to regain the title in a second fight with Chuck Liddell at UFC 66, though he remained one of the UFC's biggest stars.
Ortiz's first UFC fight came in 1997 at UFC 13. He competed as an amateur in order to preserve his college wrestling eligibility.