Mixed martial arts champ to visit troops

June 26, 2007 at 3:06 PM

LOS ANGELES, June 26 (UPI) -- Mixed martial arts fighter Tito Ortiz said he plans to travel to the Persian Gulf to meet with U.S. troops this summer.

The California native will travel to the Gulf with fellow "Team Punishment" fighter Justin McCully in a trip sponsored by the USO, Ortiz said in a statement released Tuesday.

Last month, Ortiz spoke at a ceremony at an Armed Forces Day program at the Banning Armory in California.

He also took part in a meet-and-greet session with soldiers from the California National Guard, PASS, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and other groups, in an effort to honor active duty military personnel.

"I think showing support for our troops is one of the most important things we as Americans can do," Ortiz said. "I am tremendously excited about going to the Persian Gulf with the USO. The men and women on duty there are literally on the front lines and I'll do whatever I can to show them how much their service means to us back home."

The former light-heavyweight champion in the Ultimate Fighting Championship circuit is also preparing for a bout with Rashad Evans on July 7 at California's Arco Arena.

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