SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In July 2013, Stephan Bonnar retired and was inducted to the UFC Hall of Fame.
The pick wasn't without controversy - he finished with a career record of 15-8, and twice popped for steroids in post-fight drug tests - but he was inducted due to the impact on the sport of his fight with Forrest Griffin at the first Ultimate Fighter Finale.
Earlier this week, Bonnar announced his plans to come out of retirement and fight for Bellator after spending a decade with the UFC.
And while one might expect UFC president Dana White to blow a gasket over one of his Hall of Famers jumping ship, not only is White cool with the move, but he released Bonnar from his UFC contract in order to let him do so.
"I released him to do it," White told reporters following Friday's UFC 177 weigh-ins at Sleep Train Arena. "He was under contract to us. We released him to do it, and I wish him the best."
White has made it clear he respects new Bellator CEO Scott Coker as both a person and a businessman. In recent weeks, both sides have demonstrated a level of cooperation rarely seen at the big-league MMA level, with Coker letting Eddie Alvarez out of his contract to go to the UFC; and White returning the favor with Bonnar.
Oh, and there's another reason White's okay with letting Bonnar go: It looks like Bonnar will fight White's nemesis, Tito Ortiz.
"He was retired," White said. "What he told me is he wants to beat the s-- out of Tito, and I'm down with that. I released him."