Originally written on 5thRound.com  |  Last updated 11/17/14

Tito Ortiz (Pictured) may have retired from mixed martial arts, but the former UFC light heavyweight champ is far from done contributing to the sport he helped build. Less than two weeks after launching a sports management company representing up-and-coming MMA fighters, Ortiz has partnered with promoter Roy Englebrecht to create a new amateur fight series in southern California. 

Beginning October 6th, Ortiz and Englebrecht will launch the Fight Club MMA “Rising Stars” series at The Hangar at the OC Fair & Event Center in Orange County. The shows will feature California’s best young amateur MMA athletes and serve as a developmental stage for future pros in an environment where they are evenly matched and treated like athletes.

“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.

“We are not looking to compete with the UFC. 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.”

Ortiz also introduces “Training With Tito,” an element where the fighters are invited to a private training session with Ortiz one week prior to each show. This unique session will afford fighters a chance to learn the game both inside and outside of the cage from one of the sport’s pioneers.

Tickets for the inaugural 10-bout “Rising Stars” event are available online.

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