Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz has come under scrutiny in California for filing paperwork for unemployment benefits while still receiving his salary as a member of the Huntington Beach City Council.
Hetty Chang of NBC Los Angeles reported Tuesday that Ortiz submitted Employment Development Department documents saying his time on the council ended Feb. 9, but Mayor Kim Carr disputed that filing.
"That's not true. He's been receiving the same amount of wages and hours," Carr said.
Ortiz, a Republican, won an election for a spot on the council in November and was officially sworn in as the city's mayor pro tem in December, which put him in line to take over as mayor in 2022. The city rotates the position among its council members.
Carr said the former MMA star makes $1,500 a month along with a stipend and an expense allowance as part of the elected position. She told Chang it's possible Ortiz committed fraud by seeking unemployment benefits.
"It's my understanding that city council members are not eligible for unemployment, particularly when they are receiving their full salary," Carr said.
Ortiz hasn't publicly commented on the matter.
Chang noted the city council previously considered removing Ortiz's mayor pro tem title for his refusal to wear a mask at council meetings and at a local restaurant.
Ortiz, 46, is a Huntington Beach native who rose to prominence as one of the UFC's biggest stars in the early 2000s. His last bout with the promotion came in July 2012.
His most recent fight came at a Combate Americas event in December 2019, where he scored a submission victory over Jose Rodriguez Chucuan, formerly known as WWE wrestler Alberto Del Rio.