Tito Ortiz: Stephan Bonnar Doesn't Belong in the UFC Hall of Fame

John HeinisSenior Analyst IJune 24, 2013

Jul. 7, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Tito Ortiz (left) against Forrest Griffin during a light heavyweight bout in UFC 148 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz doesn't think Stephan Bonnar deserves a spot alongside him in the UFC Hall of Fame. 

Ortiz recently spoke with MMA Junkie about the two latest fighters to be named to the Hall of Fame— Bonnar and another former 205-pound champ in Forrest Griffin. 

"Forrest deserves it," Ortiz said. "He beat me, and he beat some other really good guys. He was a world champion. He had some great fights. I think he deserves it. As far as Stephan, I have nothing against the guy, but you've got to be a world champion, I think, to be in the Hall of Fame."

Ortiz fought Griffin three times in his career, winning their first bout at UFC 59, but losing their subsequent encounters at UFC 106 and UFC 148. 

UFC president Dana White announced at the UFC 160 post-fight conference last month that Griffin and Bonnar would be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the UFC Fan Expo prior to UFC 162 (via MMA Fighting). 

Griffin ended his UFC tenure with a respectable 10-5 record with victories over the likes of Ortiz (twice), Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Rich Franklin. 

Additionally, his historic 2005 battle with Bonnar in the finals of the original season of The Ultimate Fighter helped to give the sport of MMA serious mainstream appeal. 

However, fans and analysts alike have panned the decision to give "The American Psycho" a spot in the hall, given a mediocre UFC record with no wins over big-name opponents.

Bonnar retired with an 8-7 record under the UFC banner and his biggest accomplishments in the cage were victories against Keith Jardine, Krzysztof Soszynski and Kyle Kingsbury. 

Ortiz goes on to rhetorically ask if one major fight is enough to warrant a Hall of Fame induction: 

"That's a big honor to be in the Hall of Fame," Ortiz said. "It means you had a significance in the sport at one time or another. You look at that, and the Forrest and Stephan fight was a big step for the UFC, so do they deserve it? Possibly. But can one fight get you in the Hall of Fame? I don't know. I guess that's Dana's decision."

The UFC Hall of Fame has just nine members, eight of which being respected champions during their time: Ortiz, Mark Coleman, Randy Couture, Royce Gracie, Matt Hughes, Chuck Liddell, Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock.

The only non-fighter currently enshrined is TapouT co-founder Charles "Mask" Lewis, a well-known proponent of MMA prior to his death in March 2009. 

Also worth noting is that Ortiz suggested future Hall of Fame inductees should be decided by a fan vote. 

Was Bonnar's landmark brawl with Griffin enough to earn him an official spot in UFC history, or should the UFC Hall of Fame be limited, as Ortiz believes, to former champions only? 


John Heinis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA Editor for eDraft.com and contributes MMA videos to The Young Turks Sports Show.