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Tito Ortiz claims UFC blocked Bellator from running show in Anaheim

Esther Lin

If it was up to Tito Ortiz, his Nov. 15 fight against Stephan Bonnar would be held in his Orange County backyard.

But according to Ortiz, the fight will be held at San Diego's Valley View Casino Center instead of Anaheim's Honda Center due to interference by his former company.

Ortiz helped christen the building for MMA back in 2006, when the arena was known as the Arrowhead Pond, as the native of nearby Huntington Beach won a split decision of Forrest Griffin at UFC 59, the first UFC event held in California. Since then, the home of the Anaheim Ducks has gone on to become one of the UFC's signature venues, hosting everything from Cain Velasquez's heavyweight title win over Brock Lesnar, to UFC on FOX 1, to Ronda Rousey's win over Liz Carmouche in the first women's fight in UFC history.

"The UFC said no. They tried to get to the Pond, and the UFC didn't let it happen," Ortiz said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour. "They wanted to do it at the Pond and the UFC said no."

The UFC declined comment on Ortiz's allegation.

Instead, the event ended up at the building formerly called the San Diego Sports Arena, which has its own MMA history, hosting WEC, UFC, and Strikeforce cards headlined by everyone from Jon Jones to Nick Diaz to Rousey.

"We're in San Diego, I have thousands of fans down there, they get to watch me live in their own backyard," Ortiz said.

Meanwhile, Bellator's card will run head-to-head with UFC 180, the company's Mexico City debut, featuring Velasquez. vs Fabricio Werdum for the heavyweight title. Ortiz says he's a fan of the idea.

"I think it's kinda cool actually to tell you the truth, see how much weight my name can hold," Ortiz said. "i think the big difference in all of it is, all the fans get to watch free fights instead of having to pay for fight. They get to watch free on Spike, and I think diehard fight fans will be watching no matter what, Tito Ortiz fans will be there no matter what, and Stephanie Bonnar fans will be there no matter what."

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