For awhile there, it seemed like Tito Ortiz, Mayor Pro Tem of Huntington Beach, Calif., had managed to smooth things over with his fellow council members. After all, the retired UFC “Bad Boy” apologized for his “unprofessional demeanor and poor judgement” regarding maskless public appearances.
Back to square one, it would seem.
Ortiz came under fire during Monday’s virtual City Council meeting for resurrecting his anti-mask campaign. Face masks are still required in most public places but the former light heavyweight champion flat-out refuses to wear one, even borrowing the “our body, our choice” slogan from feminists championing bodily autonomy.
“I’ll show up and do my job,” Ortiz said in regards to his return to public office. “If I get escorted out by the police for not wearing a mask then that’s your guys’ choice. It shouldn’t have to come to this. I mean, it’s our body it’s our choice. I’m not going to get anybody sick and if I have chills or the cold or sniffles or a headache or fever, anything like that I’ll go on Zoom, I have no problem doing that. I’m not going to put anybody into harm’s way. I would never do something like that. I’m being executed because I’ve not worn a mask. This is mind-blowing what you guys are trying to do to me.”
Ortiz, 46, was elected to public office late last year after nearly 23 years in combat sports. The primary issue surrounding his council controversy has been his attitude toward COVID-19, which continues to wreak havoc across the globe. It should be noted that councilman Erik Peterson has also declined to wear a mask at meetings.
“This is a job,” Mayor Kim Carr said. “We don’t have separate rules for employees and elected officials. We’re not special. But we have two council members saying, ‘I’m not following the rules because I got elected. I am not going to allow a spectacle. Your plan is to create a commotion.”