Two MMA legends will fight, but it won’t be in a cage.
Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz have signed contracts to meet in an eight-round cruiserweight boxing match on Sept. 11 in the chief-support bout before Oscar De La Hoya faces Vitor Belfort in the pay-per-view main event, Triller co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh told ESPN on Wednesday.
The Triller PPV will take place at Staples Center in Los Angeles and features two other boxing matches: former heavyweight champion David Haye vs. Joe Fournier and Andy Vences vs. Jono Carroll in a battle of 130-pound fringe contenders.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity, along with my team, to get in the ring against Tito Ortiz on Sept. 11 with Triller Fight Club, who are really shaking things up in the combat sports world,” Silva said.
Silva, 46, scored an upset over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in June, just his third pro boxing match, and then entered negotiations for a fight with YouTube personality Logan Paul.
Silva is a former UFC middleweight champion and holds the record for longest title reign in promotion history at 2,457 days. He is one of the most recognizable draws in MMA history, with 18 headline appearances on UFC PPV. He suffered a fourth-round TKO defeat to Uriah Hall in October — his seventh loss in his past nine appearances in the Octagon — and was released by the UFC one month later.
Ortiz, too, was one of the UFC’s most bankable stars. He’ll make his pro boxing debut at 46, nearly 10 years since his final UFC fight.
“I am excited to be taking on a new challenge and compete against another great fighter in Anderson Silva,” said Ortiz, a long-reigning UFC light heavyweight champion who made his debut at UFC 13 in 1997. “As a patriot, fighting on Sept. 11 means a lot to me.”
The Haye-Fournier bout will kick-off a two-pronged PPV, with the first portion geared toward U.K. fans. Haye, a former heavyweight and cruiserweight champion, is one of the biggest boxing stars in U.K history. He retired after a second loss to Tony Bellew in May 2018.
The return of Hayes, 40, will headline the first portion of the event that begins at 5 p.m. ET. A free-view will commence after, Kavanaugh said, before the PPV begins again at 9 p.m. ET.
“Our goal has always been to expand the audiences of combat sports, music and culture together” Kavanaugh said. “To expand MMA into boxing and boxing into MMA, it was teased and the potential of it was shown with (Floyd) Mayweather-(Conor) McGregor … This fight between two very polarizing MMA legends will drive, hopefully, the MMA audience to not only watch the fight but watch the way we’re doing boxing.”