What do Stephan Bonnar (pictured) and Tito Ortiz now have in common? The light heavyweights are fellow UFC Hall of Famers who are now both fighting under Bellator MMA’s banner.
Bellator announced Wednesday that Bonnar has inked a multi-fight deal to join their promotion.
Speaking of Tito Ortiz…
“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 expressed in a statement. “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 retired from mixed martial arts in October 2012 after getting steamrolled by Anderson Silva at UFC 153. The now-37-year-old subsequently burned his bridge with the UFC by flunking his post-fight drug test for the anabolic steroid Drostanolone.
It was the second time Bonnar had failed a drug screening under the UFC’s watch. He tested positive for Boldenone following his unanimous decision defeat to Forrest Griffin at UFC 62.
Bonnar is known as one of the biggest cheaters the game has ever seen, but it appears Bellator is comfortable with rolling the dice on “The American Psycho.”
“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. “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, 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.”
Bonnar and Forrest Griffin etched their names in MMA lore with their watershed scrap in “The Ultimate Fighter 1″ finals back in April of 2005. Although Bonnar lost a controversial unanimous decision that historic night, UFC brass also rewarded him with a six-figure contract for his relentless efforts in the epic battle.
Bonnar returns to MMA with a 15-8 professional record. He went just 8-7 in the UFC.
No word on when Bonnar will make his Bellator debut.