Alexander Shlemenko’s next opponent would not come in a Bellator middleweight title defense if he gets his wish.
Shlemenko, who recently earned his 50th career win, is challenging ex-UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz to a fight at Bellator: Alvarez vs. Chandler III next month in Memphis.
The card will be the first pay-per-view put on by the promotion. Ortiz, who tweeted he was recently cleared to return to action after a neck injury last year, was scheduled to main event Bellator’s first attempt at a PPV last year vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
“Tito Ortiz, you say you want to fight May 17 on Bellator’s pay-per-view. I will fight you. I will beat you,” Shlemenko stated. “Tito, I respect you, but I must beat you because I’m champion.”
Shlemenko (50-7) stated that taking on a 205-pounder is “no problem for me” before asking Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney to “make this fight because I am champion. I’m the best.”
Ortiz (16-11-1) last fought in 2012 for the UFC, losing to Forrest Griffin. He heard news of the Shlemenko challenge and responded via Twitter.
“The Champ calls me out?” Ortiz wrote. “The making of Rocky IV. But for REAL! This could be BIG!
“4 weeks to prepare to fight the champ? The hell with it I’m game! May 17th live on PPV.”
Ortiz posted on Twitter that Bellator would be making an announcement concerning the fight during Bellator 116 on Spike TV.
Hear the complete “call-out” by Shlemenko in the video below: