Former UFC light-heavyweight champions Tito (The People’s Champion) Ortiz and Quinton (Rampage) Jackson will face off later this year in Bellator’s first pay-per-view event.
The “Rampage vs. Tito” card is slated for Nov. 2 at California’s Long Beach Arena.
Both fighters are at the tail end of their career but provide Bellator with some star power.
“They’re both re-energized, excited and ready for a war,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said in a release.
Like Ortiz, Jackson (32-11) left the UFC on poor terms. Now 35, the former Pride star has lost four of his last six fights including his last three against Glover Teixeira, Ryan (Darth) Bader and current light-heavyweight champion Jon (Bones) Jones.
Jackson, 35, says friendship won’t be a factor when he steps into the cage.
“Everybody knows Tito and I have a very long history,” Jackson said. “He’s a former teammate and friend, and it’s one of the reasons I stayed away from the UFC as long as I did.
“But I want to be very clear. Any sort of friendship we once had doesn’t exist when that cage door shuts. I’ve got a ton to prove on Nov. 2, and unfortunately for Tito he’s the guy I have to make an example of.”
Ortiz (16-11) said he feels renewed after a difficult time in the UFC. The 38-year-old is 2-7-1 in his last 10 fights.
“Over the last few years, my passion for MMA was completely killed, dealing with UFC politics and with Dana (UFC president Dana White). I didn’t have that drive to compete, my heart wasn’t in it. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m free.”
White, after the UFC’s most recent card in Seattle, seemed unfazed at Ortiz’s fight plans.
“Obviously Tito needs money,” said White.
Seattle Paydays — Canadian welterweight Rory (Ares) MacDonald made a basic purse of $48,000, including a $24,000 win bonus, for his decision win over Jake (The Juggernaut) Ellenberger last Saturday on a UFC televised card in Seattle. Ellenberger collected $52,000. Flyweight champion Demetrious (Mighty Mouse) Jackson earned $108,000, including a $29,000 win bonus and $50,000 for submission of the night, for his submission victory over John Moraga ($17,000). Middleweight Ed (Short Fuse) Herman had a profitable night, collecting $124,000, including a $37,00 win bonus and $50,000 for fight of the night, for his decision win over Trevor (Hot Sauce) Smith ($58,000 including $50,000 for fight of the night). Herman also got a 180-day medical suspension unless he is cleared by a doctor first. Lightweight Melvin (The Young Assassin) Guillard made $134,000, including a win bonus of $42,000 and $50,000 for knockout of the night, for his victory over Mac Danzig ($30,000). The purse information, released by the Washington State Department of Licensing, does not necessarily tell the whole money story since the UFC does not routinely detail all its bonus payments to fighters.