Emotions were running high inside the Bellator cage Saturday night.
And that was never-more-present than from Tito Ortiz.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion appeared to be in complete control vs. Liam McGeary as the first round was coming to an end in their Bellator: Dynamite 1 main event for the title.
Then, McGeary locked up an inverted triangle on the surgically-repaired back of Ortiz and forced the quick tap.
Like that, the fight was over and Ortiz was denied in his quest to wear championship gold once more.
“I worked really hard,” Ortiz said. “To be the champ, you gotta beat the champion. (McGeary) showed he is a real man.
“As I put that belt around his waist….I gave my best Tito Ortiz. I felt my best since 2006. You beat the best and that’s why you’re the world champ.”
McGeary remained unbeaten in his MMA career and will face Phil Davis, who won a one-night tournament on the same card, in his next title defense.
For Ortiz, it was another possible final moment in an illustrious career. He’s retired before, only to return and win fights most thought he never should be signed up for.
“I gave it everything,” he said, fighting back tears. “Thank you for pushing me this camp.”