Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz continues to shed his bad boy persona. Ortiz says he will no longer hype his fights with in-your-face promos, and wants to be referred to as “The People’s Champ” instead of “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy.”
“No longer the bad boy, positive from here on out. I’m now ‘The People’s Champ,'” said Ortiz, in a recent interview with MMAWeekly.com. “I just want to change my whole outlook on life. Being the bad boy, talking smack to sell fights, I no longer need to do that. I’ve got three boys who are growing up and I want to make sure I’m known as someone who has given back to MMA and been a positive role model to a lot of people’s lives.”
Ortiz and former WWE superstar, The Rock, were involved in a Twitter feud over the use of “The People’s Champ” nickname. The Rock referred to himself as that during his career in the WWE.
“Being ‘The People’s Champ,’ the only other person I can think of who’s done the great things in their sport was Muhammad Ali,” Ortiz said. “If I could walk in one of those footsteps, then I’ve done my job as a fighter and a mixed martial artist.”
The Rock tweeted the following last month: “History – @titoortiz. 1967 Muhammad Ali creates “The People’s Champ”. 1998 Ali bestows the honor to The Rock – THE People’s Champ.”
Ortiz’s wife, Jenna Jameson replied, “Gotta weigh in on the @titoortiz and @TheRock feud, prowrestling is awesome entertainment, but MMA is REAL, not choreographed staged dancing”
Ortiz will face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 140 on December 10 from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.