Tito Ortiz—the former UFC champion turned MAGA politician—continues to be a lightning rod for controversy.
The Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem posted two anti-Semitic images on his personal Instagram account while trying to argue against mask mandates in the United States. The first was a split image where the top half featured German soldiers giving Nazi salutes, while the bottom half showed two individuals wearing PPE mask along with the caption, “How could they all just comply? We would never do that. They must have been brainwashed.”
The second image was cropped version of the Freedom for Humanity mural, which attracted criticism as anti-Semitic due to the stereotypical depictions of Jewish people. The mural depicts a group of men seated around a table under an Eye of Providence (the same symbol depicted on the United States one-dollar bill), playing a board game that rests on the backs of bent over naked figures. Ortiz posted the image along with the caption, “If the people stand…the game is over.”
The Freedom for Humanity mural was deemed anti-Semitic due to the obvious stereotypes attributed to Jewish people, including the large, hooked noses, references to finances, and Masonic symbols such as the Eye of Providence, which became a popular symbol for the Illuminati, a term that conspiracy theorists have used in modern times to denote a secret society that controls and manipulates world events. Therefore, the mural could be interpreted as accusing Jewish people of being master conspirators seeking global domination.
This is not the first time that a former MMA fighter has caused a stir by posting anti-Semitic images on social media. Gina Carano was recently fired by Disney and Lucasfilm following a social media post where she compared being a Republican in President Joe Biden’s America to the plight of being Jewish in Nazi Germany.
“Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews,” Carano’s post said, which has since been removed from her account. “How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?”
Since being elected to city council several months ago, Ortiz has used his newfound platform to continue spreading dangerous conspiracy theories related to the far-right QAnon movement as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, which he routinely referred to as a “plandemic.” He publicly chastised a popular burger franchise after being denied service for not wearing a mask, and he was barred from attending a city council meeting at the Huntington Beach library for the same reason. Ortiz also made headlines following a heated confrontation with a Huntington Beach resident, which went viral on social media.
The former UFC champion is also a fierce Trump loyalist and used his platform to amplify the former president, associate with far-right groups, and propagate dangerous conspiracy theories such as QAnon, all while campaigning with the Trumpian slogan of “Making Huntington Beach Safe Again.” Ortiz even attempted to sell QAnon shirts on his clothing website during his campaign.
Despite his history of conspiracy-mongering and complete lack of political experience, Ortiz was elected to city council with 14.3 percent of the vote, finishing first among 15 candidates. More than 42,000 people voted for Ortiz, which is the most votes in the city’s history.