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White to Liddell: "We Had a Deal"

Written by Tom Ngo
June 4th, 2009
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It’s been over a month since UFC president Dana White prematurely poured dirt on former light heavyweight champ Chuck Liddell’s career. Since then, he has been portrayed as a heartless and shrewd businessman who is willing to push his friends to the side as if they were roadkill.

After dropping four fights in his last five Octagon appearances, White has been nudging his long-time friend too keep his word regarding retirement. At this point in Liddell’s career, White has seen enough and doesn’t want his boy to get hurt.

“Trust me when I tell you, he’s ready to retire,” White said. “He’s ready to retire. It’s the reason we love Chuck Liddell. He has nothing left to prove. He’s got a [expletive] load of money. He’s been a world champion. He’s beaten a who’s who of mixed martial arts fighters. He’s the most famous guy in the sport. There’s no reason to fight. He’s 40 years old, man. He and I had an agreement. We had a deal.”

Their pre-UFC 97 arrangement had “The Iceman” hanging ’em up if he wasn’t able to unleash a dominating performance against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Not only was Liddell not impressive, but Rua served him up another TKO defeat.

At least this time he wasn’t unconscious with his face planted into the canvas as he did in his fights against both Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Rashad Evans.

“Am I his father? Can I tell him not to fight? Absolutely not,” White expressed. “If he still wants to fight, he can fight. I’m not saying, ‘It will never happen. It will never happen.’ But he made a deal with me. He’s never not listened to me. We’ll see what happens.”

Since his loss, White and Liddell’s long-time friend and trainer, John Hackleman, have had their verbal spats in the media. The perception is that White is eager to brush Chuck aside so he can focus more on the division’s up-and-coming talent, while Hackleman would just like for his homie to be able to decide his own fate.

Their beef got very personal just a few weeks ago when White stated the only reason Hack wants Liddell to continue fighting is so he could collect another payday off his lucrative money-maker.

Hack recently apologized to White, wanting to put their feud to bed, at least for the sake of their mutual friend. However, according to Hack, White hasn’t acknowledged or returned any of his calls.

“I don’t know, man,” White said about the rocky situation. “I’m honestly telling you guys I can not see him coming back to me and saying, ‘I want to fight one more.’ We already did that. I can’t see it happening. I think there are a lot of people around him who need his money putting pressure on him. That’s what I think.”

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