UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz has partnered with promoter Roy Englebrecht to create a new amateur fight series in southern California.
The former UFC light heavyweight champ and Englebrecht will launch Fight Club MMA “Rising Stars” on Oct. 6 in The Hangar at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa, Calif. The series, which makes its sophomore effort on Dec. 7, now joins Englebrecht’s Fight Club OC events under one umbrella.
“There is no one in southern California mixed martial arts that I would rather partner with than Tito Ortiz,” stated Englebrecht in a press release. “Fight Club OC is already a successful MMA promotion in southern California. With Tito’s expertise in MMA training, as well as his business acumen and marketing savvy, we will be able to take Fight Club OC, as well as other ‘Rising Stars’ shows around the county, to a new level of success.”
According to Ortiz, the show aims to provide a well-structured proving ground for young fighters who aspire to fight professionally.
“We are not looking to compete with the UFC,” Ortiz said. “In fact, we couldn’t even if we tried, as the UFC is the major leagues. We want to be the equivalent of college football to the NFL. We are looking to scout out the fighters that we feel can make it and prepare them for that major step to the next level.”
In that vein, Ortiz will personally assist in the development of the fighters when the 37-year-old invites competitors from each corner to join him in a private training session -- dubbed “Training with Tito” -- one week prior to each event.
“I have always wanted to develop talent and make a positive influence, from the days of wanting to be a wrestling coach to coaching on ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’” said Ortiz. “I know what it takes to help scout these kids and take them to the next level. Along with my partner, entertainment and sports attorney George Prajin, we have teamed up with Roy to build a developmental league to the pros. We want to give credibility to the amateur division and rank the fighters, kind of like the Golden Gloves has done for boxing.”