Ariel Helwani is reporting for Bellator-mma" target="_blank">MMAFighting, that UFC Hall of Famer Stefan Bonnar, 37, has signed a multi-fight contract with Bellator MMA. His first fight will apparently be with UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz.
Ironically, there is bad blood between the pair as Ortiz was publicly critical of the UFC's decision to induct Bonnar into the UFC Hall of Fame.
"As far as Stephan, I have nothing against the guy, but you've got to be a world champion, I think, to be in the Hall of Fame," said Ortiz in July of last year. "That's a big honor to be in the Hall of Fame. It means you had a significance in the sport at one time or another. You look at that, and the Forrest and Stephan fight was a big step for the UFC, so do they deserve it? Possibly. But can one fight get you in the Hall of Fame? I don't know."
Bonnar replied with a call out.
"We all know Tito is broke," he said. "We all know Jenna took his money. His punishment clothing, the only people I see wearing that are homeless people. His management company ***laughs*** he's not banking any money there. So I'm going to help the poor guy get paid."
The call out was of course for the pair to fight in the UFC.
"I wouldn't fight for another promotion," said Bonnar at the time. "It's about loyalty. More than anything, I take pride in being a part of the UFC and I wouldn't want to screw that up."
Times change though. Bonnar retired after a loss to then UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 153 in October of 2012; Silva had moved up a division for the bout. Then Bonnar tested positive for PEDs, his second failure, and he was suspended for a year.
And now he is back, in another promotion.
"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," said Bonnar in a statement released by Bellator. "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."