Huntington Beach, Calif. – (AP) – Former mixed martial arts fighter Tito Ortiz has for the first time left his position on the City Council of Huntington Beach, California, after spending nearly six months in politics – and drawing harsh criticism for his anti-mask views and council To file for unemployment benefits while serving.
Ortiz, who was the city’s protem mayor, announced his resignation Tuesday night during the first in-person council meeting held this year.
“This job isn’t working for me,” Ortiz said.
In a 6-0 vote on Wednesday, the city council elected councilwoman Barbara Delgliese as the new mayor of Proteam. She will remain in this post till December. In the meantime, the council will begin discussions on appointing someone to fill Ortiz’s vacant seat, according to a statement from the city.
As the Orange County Register reports, Ortiz said he decided to resign on behalf of his family after being labeled as “attacks” by the media.
Ortiz did not specify what media reports he believed to be the attacks, but his two sons recently made national news when they were sent home from school without the required face masks.
“Recently, attacks against me have moved to include my family,” Ortiz said. “When it becomes a matter of protecting my children, I am a father and I am going to protect my children.”
Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and a local celebrity, Ortiz was selected in November 2020. His tenure was rocky after he refused to wear masks at city events and referred to coronavirus safety measures as a conspiracy.
Then in February, Ortiz filed an unemployment claim against the city with the California Department of Employment Development—despite the fact that he continued to earn its council member stipend and spending allowance. Unemployment filings went public in April.
Ortiz has denied that his unemployment claim was unwarranted, saying the allegations were politically motivated.
In his parting remarks, Ortiz said he thought he was “up for the job.”
“I’m sorry to disappoint many of our supportive constituents and I pray that they will understand,” he said.
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