Chael Sonnen and Tito Ortiz both said it was going to happen, and Bellator made it official on Tuesday.
Sonnen’s return to MMA and his Bellator debut will come against Ortiz in the main event of Bellator 170, set to take place Jan. 21, 2017.
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) October 19, 2016
Sonnen has not fought since 2013 when he fought and lost to Rashad Evans at UFC 167.
He became involved in a coaching gig on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 opposite Wanderlei Silva. The two were scheduled to fight at UFC 175.
Silva was pulled from the bout after a fiasco with USADA that involved him fleeing the scene of a random drug test. Soon after, Sonnen was also pulled from the bout, after getting Vitor Belfort as a replacement opponent, because he failed a random drug test leading up.
As a result, Sonnen was suspended from MMA for two years.
Sonnen’s suspension was recently completed, and talks of returning to the cage were immediately discussed. Sonnen initially intended to go back to the UFC if he could, but he was not sure if he could pass the drug tests and entered the USADA testing pool.
After time passed, the news was reported on Sept. 15 that Sonnen was no longer with the UFC and had in fact signed a contract to fight under the Bellator banner for the first time in his career.
Ortiz has not competed in over a year, last fighting at Bellator 142: Dynamite when he failed in a title bid against light heavyweight champ Liam McGeary. Prior to that, he had picked up victories in his two Bellator bouts against Alexander Shlemenko and Stephan Bonnar.