Dana White has been called many things throughout his tenure as UFC president – with most of them coming on the unflattering side – but serving as Chuck Liddell’s BFF clearly sits atop the list.
Following Liddell’s 1stRound lights out loss to Rich Franklin at UFC 115 on Saturday, the brash promoter showed his softer side, as he carefully maneuvered around questions regarding his friend’s future.
“This is what he wanted,” White said at the post-fight press conference. “I did what I felt I should do. He said, ‘Listen, I want this; I’m going to take it serious,’ and he did. What else could I say? The guy was healthy. He’s seen the doctors, he’s passed his (medicals).”
When asked to share his thoughts on seeing his longtime homie suffer his fifth loss in his last six outings – with four of them coming in knockout fashion – White said there is no remorse on his side because Liddell appeared physically ready and it was something he felt the masses wanted to see.
“I don’t have one sad feeling in my body,” White matter-of-factly said. “He wanted this and he gave it his best shot. He went out like Chuck Liddell would. He was blasting and throwing bombs and he gave the fans a last, good fight with The Iceman.”
Although UFC color commentator Joe Rogan was much more blunt regarding Liddell’s future following the pay-per-view broadcast by emphatically stating “Chuck’s done,” White took a more calculated approach towards explaining Liddell’s fall from grace.
“I’ll be the first one to say he does not have the same chin he used to,” White said. “You get to a point in your career and the chin just goes. I’ve been around fighters my whole life and you could have hit Chuck in the face with a pole at one time and it wouldn’t have knocked him out. He had an incredible chin.
“We all turn 40 and we all get old. Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player in the world. It happens to everybody.”
While MJ made a successful comeback after initially hanging up his Nikes, don’t expect for Liddell to teeter the retirement line the way Brett Farve has over the last three years. Father Time is undefeated and he decisively rendered his verdict last night inside GM Place in Vancouver, Canada.
The good news is Liddell won’t be in the unemployment line too long because White has promised his boy a lifetime job with the company he helped build. The UFC Hall of Famer has contributed more than enough inside the Octagon, and that’s why White is showing his appreciation by never allowing him to step inside of one ever again.