Bellator made quite the splash Wednesday as it dives into the pay-per-view world of MMA for the first time with a Nov. 2 card featuring a pair of former UFC champions in the main event.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
“My excitement, energy and aggression, it’s all back and bigger than ever," Jackson said Wednesday. "I feel like a kid again."
The fight will take place at the Long Beach Arena, with tickets going on sale this Saturday. No other fights were announced Wednesday on Bellator's live show on Spike TV.
Back when Jackson and Ortiz were "kids" in this sport, they were teammates and trained together at Big Bear.
Jackson signed with the Viacom-owned Bellator in June as part of a multi-platform contract that includes some work with TNA's Impact Wrestling, another Spike broadcasting partner.
Ortiz, who retired after losing to Forrest Griffin at UFC 148 in July 2012, makes his return to the cage for the first time. Ortiz's time with the UFC -- 15 years -- included a record-setting five consecutive light heavyweight title defenses (since tied by current champion Jon Jones) and nearly as many public feuds with UFC president Dana White, also his former manager.
But despite all those back-and-forths in the medium, Ortiz (17-11-1) only had one fight outside of the UFC -- a win over Jeremy Screeter at the West Coast NHB Championships in Los Angeles on Dec. 8, 1998.
“Over the last few years, my passion for MMA was completely killed, dealing with UFC politics and with Dana," Ortiz said. "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. Bjorn and Bellator put together an opportunity that made me part of the promotion, part of the family. I feel like I can breathe again and my old friend is going to be on the receiving end of all that happiness turned into an old school Tito Ortiz ground and pound beating. "