UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz has not taken part in an MMA fight since a victory over Alberto El Patron in December 2019, which later became a "No Decision." He has discussed different career paths in the years since, including becoming a police officer. Now he is trying to make a difference in his community. Ortiz is running for a position on the city council.
According to ABC7, Ortiz's name will appear on the ballot for the Huntington Beach (California) City Council. He is one of 15 candidates running for three open positions. He explained that he is not a politician and that he initially wanted to be a police officer. However, Ortiz said that his hands "would be tied" as an officer due to his superiors.
"I'm not a politician at all. I'm an American that was born and raised here in Huntington Beach and I'm gonna fight for my community," Ortiz said to the news station. "This is my life. They've given so much to me in my career of mixed martial arts of 23 years. Now it's time to give back for them.
"When I stood down here, I wanted to be a police officer," Ortiz continued. "But come to realize, if I was going to be a police officer, that my hands would be tied because of the chief, or the lieutenant of the officers. So let's get into the opposite side with City Council. Let's start at City Council with the grassroots, with the people."
As he further explained, Ortiz took inspiration from President Donald Trump. He said that Trump is a businessman who made the move to politics and used a business strategy to "make America great." Ortiz said that this doesn't mean that he will ultimately run for president. The Oval Office is not his ultimate goal. "I will not, nope. I think the Trump family has that handled 100%. You'll see the first woman president — Ivanka Trump. Mark my words," Ortiz said.
When Oritz announced his intention to run for City Council, his fellow candidates reacted in very different ways. Some praised the decision and said that they have the "utmost respect" for Ortiz's decision, especially with him saying that he wants to protect the community. Others, however, strongly criticized the former UFC fighter.
Two of the candidates — Dan Kalmick and Oscar D. Rodriguez — spoke about Ortiz and said that he hasn't been working in the community. Kalmick said that he only sees the former UFC fighter on TMZ or "standing on the side of known hate groups" during peaceful protests. Rodriguez expressed a similar sentiment and said that Ortiz was using "celebrity status and wild QAnon conspiracy theories" to advance himself politically and personally.