Since his knockout loss at UFC 97, Chuck Liddell has had to fend off retirement chatter while he searches for a decision. UFC president Dana White has seen enough and is already pouring dirt on his illustrious career, however Chucky is intent on leaving on his own terms, causing the war of words between the two sides to heat up.
“One of the greatest fighters in mixed martial arts,” White stated. “The most famous fighter in mixed martial arts. He’s been a world champion. He’s beat all the top names. He’s helped build this organization and he’s helped build the sport of mixed martial arts. He has nothing to prove. Fighting isn’t a young man’s sport. (Michael) Jordan turned 40. It happens to the best of us. Chuck’s had his day.”
Although Liddell has been mum since Mauricio “Shogun” Rua smacked him around last month, his long-time trainer and friend John Hackleman says that White needs to stop pushing his homie out the door.
“Nothing has been decided yet,” Hackleman said. “We made a deal. We’re gonna go, probably this summer, to Hawaii and we’re gonna sit on the beach and see if we can decide then. If not, there’s no rush. He’s not under a time crunch. He’ll decide when he wants to decide. And nobody else is gonna tell him.”
White, Liddell’s one-time manager and good friend, believes that Hack is more concerned about his next payday than he is about looking out for Liddell’s best interests.
“Obviously, John Hackleman didn’t pay his house off yet. John Hackleman needs some money, because anybody who claims they care about Chuck Liddell even a little bit would not be making these [expletive] statements,” White stated.
Hackleman fired back at the brash Prez by stating that he only talks big because he has the financial backing of the Fertitta brothers, who co-own 90 percent of the largest MMA organization in the world.
“Dana is Dana and he’s got the two rich brothers backing him up and he’s got all the money in the world,” Hack stated. “I think he says that out of concern for Chuck, but he wants to be the bully, the big shot, ‘there will be a war.’ [Expletive]. You don’t have to say that. But it’s Dana’s playground and he can take his ball and say, ‘You can’t play anymore.’ Could he talk that way if he didn’t have what he had behind him?”
White claims the only reason he wants to take his ball away is because he and Liddell pinky swore that if “The Iceman” didn’t beat Shogun in convincing fashion, it was time to hang ’em up.
“He said, ‘I [expletive] promise,’” White said of his pre-UFC 97 conversation with Liddell.
Fact of the matter is, White and the UFC could still make plenty of cheddar off of the 39-year-old, however it isn’t about that. It’s about him getting slapped silly in four of his last five scraps.
“But I don’t want that [expletive] money,” White professes. “I’m not gonna see my friend go out and do that again. When have you ever seen a [expletive] promoter who can make money with a guy ask him to retire?”
In closing, White said that it is in Liddell’s best interest to hold up his end of their agreement and stop listening to Hackleman, a man that has had all of his eggs in Chuck’s basket for quite some time.
“How many great, talented guys do you see coming out of John Hackleman’s place?” White asked. “He’s no Greg Jackson. He’s no Mark DellaGrotte. He’s no American Top Team. He’s not one of the great camps. Chuck Liddell made him.”
It started out as business, but now it looks like Dana has made it personal.
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