Sunday, July 19, 2009 - by Jeff Cain - MMAWeekly.com
Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White said leading up to Chuck Liddell's UFC 97 bout with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua that if the former light heavyweight titleholder didn't look impressive, he would urge his longtime friend to retire. White's position hasn't changed.
Rua defeated Liddell by technical knockout late in the first round. It was Liddell's forth loss in his last five fights with three being by way of knockout.
During UFC 100 event weekend, White maintained, "Chuck Liddell is retired."
Liddell has yet to make an official statement addressing whether he plans to retire or continue fighting.
"Chuck's in a very weird political situation right now with a lot of different people. Chuck is such a good guy and such a loyal friend and an amazing person that he doesn't say no to anybody," White explained. "I don't know all the ins and outs of it, but I'm sure enough people around him still need to make some money."
Liddell was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on July 10, and White said, looking back on his career, "We were putting together this montage for his Hall of Fame thing. We were sitting there watching all these things. And you guys know, how much fun were the Chuck Liddell fights when he came out?
"It was almost like the Tyson thing. It's like oh man, this is Mike Tyson, he's gonna knock somebody out," reminisced the UFC president. "It was fun. He had his time. I don't want to see him get hurt."
Liddell's a fighter's fighter. It's always a game of Russian Roulette when he enters the Octagon. No matter what, the fight is most likely going to end in a knockout. He entered the sport when there were no big paydays, no mainstream sponsorship deals and no reality shows. Liddell has always been in it for the fight. The "Iceman" is financially secure. He's reached the pinnacle of the sport. There's nothing left to prove or accomplish, except maybe to himself.
"Chuck's all set. He doesn't need to make any more money. Chuck's made a lot of money. He's become very famous and he's got lots of stuff going on. He'll always be, as long as I'm alive, he'll do just fine," stated White. "He'll always be my guy. He's helped us build this business. He's been a true friend, a true partner, and an amazing champion."
White's opinion is based on friendship and not business, but that's what makes his opinion on the subject intriguing. The mastermind behind the UFC stands to lose revenue by having Liddell call it quits, but his stance is based in concern.
"When a guy starts getting knocked out four or five times in a row... for what? He doesn't need the money. He's already been a world champion. He's already incredibly famous. People love him. What's there left to fight for?"
questioned White. "I just don't understand it. I don't get it."