UFC Hall of Fame fighter Stephan Bonnar has signed with Bellator MMA, the promotion announced on Wednesday.
Bonnar, who retired following a loss to Anderson Silva in 2012, has been doing announcing work with Titan FC. He was inducted into the hall of fame alongside Forrest Griffin, as the two were in the finals of the first Ultimate Fighter season.
“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,” Bonnar said in a statement provided 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.”
Bonnar and Ortiz have exchanged words in the past, but they never crossed paths while both were competing inside the Octagon. Along with competing later this year, Bonnar could also work as an analyst for the promotion.
“Stephan is a guy that has been a huge part of this sport and we are excited have him part of the roster,” Bellator president Scott Coker said in a statement provided by the organization. “He was one half of probably the greatest and one of the most important fights in MMA history, and it happened on Spike. When you look at our light heavyweight division, with names like Rampage (Jackson), Tito, King Mo (Lawal), 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.”
Bonnar holds a 15-8 career record, including wins over Kyle Kingsbury, Keith Jardine and James Irvin, while he has also fought the likes of Silva, Jon Jones, Griffin and Mark Coleman.
Ortiz responded to the news on Twitter, posting “Really? Really? I’m going to beat the juice out of you.” Bonnar failed a handful of post-fight drug tests for banned substances while he competed in the UFC.