(Photo via MMAWeekly)
Back in October 2012, Stephan Bonnar announced his retirement from MMA following his TKO loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 153. Then, he tested positive for steroids. Then, he was somehow inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame — an unexpectedly positive end to a mostly-respectable career.
Except it wasn’t the end. According to a report from Ariel Helwani, Bonnar has signed a multi-fight contract with Bellator, and may also do some broadcasting work for the promotion on Spike TV. Bonnar’s debut date and opponent haven’t been revealed yet, but the rumor is that he’ll be fighting fellow UFC HoF’er Tito Ortiz, and he’s already angling for the match:
“I want everyone to know I’m coming out of retirement because it’s time to free the MMA world of the virus that’s known as Tito Ortiz,” Bonnar said in a statement provided by Bellator. “We’ve been suffering through his boring fights for too many years, and it’s about time that someone beats it out of him once and for all.”
In response, Ortiz promised to beat the juice out of him, and called him a #BitchBoy. Strong words, indeed.
Just four months ago, Bonnar told BloodyElbow that he wouldn’t fight for any other promotion besides the UFC, and that he’s currently enjoying his new life as a day-trader. (“It’s about loyalty,” Bonnar said. “More than anything, I take pride in being a part of the UFC and I wouldn’t want to screw that up.”) Well, loyalty only goes so far when Spikeforce is dangling a huge paycheck in front of you.
Bellator CEO Scott Coker had this to say about the Bonnar signing:
“Stephan is a guy that has been a huge part of this sport and we are excited have him part of the roster. He was one half of probably the greatest and one of the most important fights in MMA history, and it happened on Spike. [Ed. note: LOL...very subtle knife-twisting, Scott.] When you look at our light heavyweight division, with names like Rampage, Tito, King Mo, Emanuel Newton and others, there are a lot of fights Stephan can be involved in. Big fights against big names. After talking to Stephan, I know that’s what he wants, and we want to provide that to our fans.”
As Tito might say, FOTS SHIRED. Of course, seeing Stephan Bonnar slug it out with the likes of Ortiz and Rampage Jackson in the year 2014 isn’t exactly MMA at its finest. (Or more accurately, it’s 2007 MMA at its finest.) Then again, Bellator has just brought another well-known name onto its roster. Who needs Attila Vegh when you have the American Psycho?
We’ll let you know when Bonnar’s first Bellator fight is confirmed.