If you thought the Fedor Emelianenko-to-the-UFC talk was getting old, what about the inevitable Octagon return of former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell? Speaking of getting old, despite turning the Big 4-0 last month, “The Iceman” remains intent on resuming his MMA career, despite what UFC president Dana White feels.
“He’s made a lot of money, and I’ll pay him more money to [expletive] not fight,” White said. “He can come in and be the Director of Fun or something. I don’t know. I’ll give him a [expletive] job that he doesn’t have to fight. I love him. I respect him. I think he helped us build this business. He’s been an incredibly loyal guy to me, an incredible friend to me, and he doesn’t have to fight anymore.
“I respect him for wanting to, but I don’t want him to.”
Not too long ago, Liddell was the face of the organization, thus the entire sport of mixed martial arts. His Mohawk was plastered all over the planet, even making cameos in the mega-popular HBO series, Entourage, as well as gracing the cover of ESPN the Magazine.
If any MMA fighter’s life could be compared to that of a rock star, it would be Liddell’s. If you’ve ever been around Liddell when he’s on The Strip, you know exactly what I am talking about. Because of reasons like that, White can understand why the new King of Vegas is having a tough time letting go.
“The thing that everybody loves about Chuck Liddell is he’s a fighter,” White said. “That guy loves to fight. When you’re walking out in that arena, and 16,000 people are going crazy and yelling your name and [expletive], it’s hard to walk away from.”
Liddell begins filming “The Ultimate Fighter 11” in two weeks, with the Spike TV show debuting on March 31st. Although he dominated Ortiz in their previous two meetings, a trilogy between the legends is already set. White isn’t sure what’s next for Chucky after that bout, especially since he pulled the Liddell/Ortiz III scrap out of nowhere.
“I know the boxing business, and I know how it is,” White said. “As soon as you’re not a huge draw and a huge star anymore, man, they don’t give a [expletive] about you anymore. It’s the thing that I was telling you about the Chuck Liddell scenario with me. If Chuck Liddell was a boxer, they’d be like, ‘See you later, Chuck Liddell. Hit the road.’
“But Chuck Liddell is still a huge legend and a star, and he’ll always be with us. I don’t give a [expletive]. I’m talking him out of a fight. I’m trying to make him not fight, and that’s the different business that we’re building now. I came from that (boxing) world, and it’s an ugly world. I’m telling you right now, it’s an ugly, nasty business, man. I don’t want to see this business go there.”