The former UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion, Tito Ortiz has revealed that his first UFC fight was for free.

Despite that the 47-year-old has developed himself into a controversial figure over time, Ortiz’s name, and the legacy he left in the cage remain very much intact. 

The UFC veteran, was one of the first pioneers within the UFC, making his UFC debut back in May 1977, to which he has recently disclosed he fought for free, on an episode of ‘Insight’ with Chris Van Vliet.

“I fought in UFC 13… I fought for free as an amateur, no UFC fighter in history has ever fought for free,” Ortiz exclaimed.

READ MORE:  Leon Edwards issues challenge to UFC welterweight contenders: 'There's no freebies, earn your shot'

“I did it just to kinda test myself, see how good I truly could be. J.C, junior college wrestling state champion…was 199lbs and thought I’d give it a try.”

“I was training with Tank Abbott who fought in the UFC at the time and thought hey let’s give this a try… so I fought May 30th, 1997, stopped my first guy in seconds.”

How Tito Ortiz found a living within MMA

In it’s early days, the UFC was a far cry from the professional promotion it is today. UFC 13 consisted of a four-man elimination tournament for two different weight classes

READ MORE:  Video - 16-year-old Russian MMA fighter dies after taking an unnecessary blow to the head

Although ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ was being paid nothing to fight and had the odds stacked against him, Ortiz expressed that the experience was priceless and was “hooked” on the sport before going to bed that night.

“I visualized myself in the finals, and the guy that made it to the finals incidentally ended up getting hurt, and I was the replacement. I was beating Guy Mezger and then they separated us, put us back on our feet, hit him with a big shot, and cut him… went for a takedown and got caught in a guillotine and didn’t know what that was at the time, white belt stuff. I had to tap, but I was hooked.”

READ MORE:  Colby Covington plots finish of arch rival Leon Edwards in earmarked UFC title fight: 'I know I'm going to nail him'

“I loved it… as a kid growing up on the streets, parents not being around me that much, I was always dying for attention. And the attention was there of fans [wanting my autograph]… but to come to realize that this was going to be the making of Tito Ortiz.”

What do you make of Tito Ortiz?

Combat sports journalist based out of the UK. Follow @OliverBrockett on Twitter for all things MMA and Boxing.