Tito Ortiz is tapping out of his position on the city council in Huntington Beach, Calif., claiming he was a victim of “character assassination” and saying he feared for his family’s safety.
The 46-year-old UFC Hall of Famer, who is currently serving as the city’s mayor pro tem, announced his resignation Tuesday night at an in-person council meeting, saying it was effective immediately. A video of his resignation was posted on social media.
Tito Ortiz announces his resignation from the Huntington Beach City Council. pic.twitter.com/vVzsLNf9zu
— Oscar Willis (@oscarswillis) June 2, 2021
“This job isn’t working for me,” Ortiz said while reading a prepared statement.
“I was under the notion that I was in a bipartisan position and that we all had a common goal that our city and our constituents could have. To put it frankly, that’s not the case,” he added. “From day one, when I was sworn in, I was met with hostility and judgement.”
The former MMA fighter then claimed he was a victim of “character assassination each and every week, with multiple news stories [that included] personal information to slander and defame my name.”
Ortiz quit his short-lived job in politics after facing heavy criticism for refusing to wear a mask in public and not getting a COVID-19 vaccine, according to KABC-TV.
He was publicly shown several times going to small businesses around the city and refusing to put on a mask while trying to enter the establishments, despite state and county orders requiring masks.
In podcast interviews last year, Ortiz referred to coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” and said the pandemic was a form of “population control” by leftist groups.
In February, the city council decided to give him another chance at the mayor pro tem position instead of kicking him off the council when he showed up to the city’s Central Library for a strategic planning meeting without a mask.
The MMA star also caught flack for filing for unemployment against the city in February, although his hours were not cut, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Ortiz, who was born and raised in Orange County coastal city, was elected to the council in November 2020.