Less than a year after getting elected to the Huntington Beach, California City Council, former mixed martial arts fighter Tito Ortiz has abruptly resigned, complaining about “hostility and judgement.” Ortiz made his announcement during a city council meeting Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times, the council's first in-person meeting since December. It was the culmination of eight months of controversy for Ortiz, an adamant COVID-19 denier. “As of recently, the attacks against me have started to involve my family, and now I feel that their safety is in danger,” he said during Tuesday's meeting. “To put it simply, this job isn’t working for me.” The announcement came just a few weeks after his sons were sent home from school for refusing to put masks on.
In the run-up to his election, Ortiz called COVID-19 a form of “population control by the left,” despite the virus killing more than 200,000 people by October last year. Despite that, he received the most votes for city council in the city's history with more than 42,000 votes. Since his election as mayor pro tem, which enabled him to take over mayoral duties if needed, he refused to wear masks on multiple occasions, leading other council members to consider removing him.