Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz went through some of the rougher times in MMA.

Now that he’s retired – and a member of the UFC’s Hall of Fame – Ortiz is speaking out to help give credit to a man who kind of takes a backseat when such credit is often handed out: Lorenzo Fertitta.

“When I saw Lorenzo come in and he saved the sport. When he came in, the rules that were added evolved the sport,” said Ortiz, during a recent interview on Fuel TV. “It’s not a barbaric sport anymore. It’s one people are accepting. It took almost 15 years.

Fertitta and his brother, Frank, purchased the UFC in 2001. They have helped transform it into the giant it is today with the help of Dana White and stars such as Ortiz.

Photo credit: Combatlifestyle