Sports

UFC’s Chuck Liddell Dilemma

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell and Dana White are not on the same page. Liddell still has the desire to compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Liddell is on record saying that he is eyeing an April 2010 return. If so, what do you do with a 40 year old Chuck Liddell in 2010 in UFC?

It is obvious that Liddell has no plans to retire in the immediate future. In hindsight, UFC president Dana White’s announcement was premature at best. White has backed off of the statement a bit. White has since said that while he doesn’t want him to fight, he won’t stop him if he does.

My contention has been that if Liddell wants to fight, he should have that opportunity. As long as he is licensed by the State Athletic Commission, he will fight. While he is under contract to UFC, he could easily walk and fight elsewhere if UFC wouldn’t book him. I just think the next time White announces someone’s retirement, he should check with them first.

I always found Dana White’s stance odd. UFC are  promoting 44-year old Mark Coleman and 46-year old Randy Couture. Hell, they fed a 45-year old Randy Couture to the monster Brock Lesnar. Matt Hughes has proven that while fighters can slow down, there is life after main-event in UFC with the right match. I found White’s stance on Liddell very hypocritical from the start.

What do you do with a declining Chuck Liddell if you are UFC? You can always tempt fate and rematch him with Wanderlei Silva who is in a similar predicament. There were rumors of a potential Rich Franklin fight. Dana White recently shot down Tito Ortiz’s request to fight Chuck again.  A Keith Jardine rematch may not be the worst idea? These are all fighters that Liddell even in his current state has a shot of being competitive against in UFC.

Personally, I think you bring him back first on The Ultimate Fighter. Liddell was a coach in season one and he was great. UFC can definitely buy some time by throwing him on the show for a few months before any decision is made. As a matter of a fact, you could play off of last season and go with a Brazil vs. USA featuring Liddell and Silva as coaches. A Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz Ultimate Fighter competition would undoutedbly be highly successful as well.

Chuck Liddell was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame at UFC 100. The induction into the Hall of Fame is well deserved. If Chuck Liddell isn’t a Hall of Fame fighter, than who is? Liddell was the icing on a magical cake that broke UFC out into the mainstream. Liddell should have an entire UFC Hall of Fame building all to himself.

Critics will argue that Liddell was knocked out badly in his last two fights and doesn’t have it anymore. However, the component that people are leaving out of this was the level of Chuck’s competition. Chuck fought the cream of the crop in his division. I don’t think there is any shame in getting knocked out by Rashad Evans or Shogun Rua. I am not convinced Chuck Liddell has all of the sudden lost all of his skills because he lost to the best.

Dan Severn recently suggested on my radio show that UFC institute an aging division. I think something like this would be perfect for Liddell.  I would love to see the classics or legends competing against fighters on their own levels. As talented as an aging fighter is, the speed/reflex matchup isn’t fair with a younger fighter. It wouldn’t be hard to convince aging fighters to jump into this division if guys like Liddell, Hughes, and Couture were competing.

If Chuck Liddell is cleared to fight, I’d love to see back in action. Liddell is a hell of a lot more talented even at 39 than half of the guys that UFC are promoting these days. Liddell still has the power and can catch anyone at the opportune moment. In my mind, April 2010 can’t come soon enough for the Iceman.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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