MMA Great Calling It Quits
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell has been shaking off rumors of retirement for a long time, especially during his time earlier this year as a coach on "The Ultimate Fighter." But yesterday, the time was finally right for Liddell to call it a career inside the Octagon.
The 41-year-old had been struggling with the decision for a long time because he had no idea what to do in life after MMA, but it was a retirement MMA fans have seen coming for a long time. The writing was on the wall after losing to Rich Franklin this past June, in which "The Iceman" suffered his 3rd straight loss via knockout. It was after that fight when UFC president Dana White vowed to never promote another Chuck Liddell fight, which was White's public way of saying, "RETIRE ALREADY!!"
Liddell was more than "just a fighter." He was a man among boys both in and out of the Octagon, dominating his opponents inside the cage and becoming a crossover star in sports and entertainment outside the cage.
Liddell and Randy Couture are two of the biggest reasons why MMA has become a mainstream sport worldwide, with appearances on radio, television and even in blockbuster movies like "The Expendables." Liddell's commitment to giving MMA a good name was so strong that he even risked potentially losing his "man card" by taking part in Season 9 of "Dancing with the Stars" in 2009. And as a true sign that MMA was officially becoming a part of mainstream America, Liddell was on the cover of ESPN The Magazine in May of 2007, the first MMA fighter to accomplish such a feat.
Liddell spent the last 6 months thinking about the next step in his life, and I applaud him for making what most MMA fans would agree is the right decision. The UFC Hall of Famer will now become the company's VP of Business Development, and I can assure all of you that Liddell's impact on the sport will continue to be felt for many years to come.