Since Chuck Liddell's first round TKO loss to Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 97, one of the major talking points among fans has been the controversy surrounding the potential for Chuck Liddell to walk away from the sport. After losing to top UFC Light Heavyweights Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, and "Shogun" Rua, many fans are calling for Liddell to call it quits after losing four of his last five bouts in the Octagon. Dana White is also on that bandwagon:
"Believe me, it will be a [expletive] war if he tries not to retire, believe me," he said. "I love him. He helped me build this business. We started when he was making five hundred [to show] and five hundred [to win]. And we had the dream of him becoming a big star and winning the title and making all kinds of money... We did it all man. We [expletive] did it all. We did it. We did it. It's [expletive] over. He's 40 years old, it is over."
Liddell wasn't giving much information if he was going along with what White had already told the media, but he seemed much more inclined to go along with the plan to retire later on:
When asked if he had entered the cage for the final time, Liddell was at first noncommittal but later admitted it was probably true.
"Yeah, that's probably the case," Liddell said. "I'm not going to make any decisions until I go home to talk to everybody, talk to my people and my friends. ... But it's probably safe to say (I'm retired)."
The news will likely hit the MMA world hard. Despite his 1-4 record since his final title defense over Tito Ortiz at UFC 66, Liddell remains a fan favorite, a proven par-per-view draw, and an international icon for the sport.
So, where is the controversy? Reading over the thoughts that John Hackleman, Chuck's long-time trainer, has stated are beginning to make me believe that we haven't seen that last of Chuck Liddell. In fact, there could be a possibility of a storm brewing.
From the post, Hackleman seems a bit irritated at the fact that White has already written off Liddell as stepping into the Octagon again even though Liddell has one fight left on his contract. Hackleman states that the UFC is obligated to give him that fight, and there is no stopping someone's livelihood even in a court of law with a binding contract.
This presents an interesting situation for the UFC, Dana White, and Chuck Liddell. We've seen fighters in the past well past their prime battle it out in subpar matchups. Guys like Ken Shamrock tell us that they just want to keep doing what they love, regardless of what anybody tells them. I can see their point in the fact that they just want to continue doing what they love until they physically can't do it any longer, but I wonder if Chuck Liddell still has some sort of fantasy that he can once again become a champion. That's where the logic doesn't compute in my mind.
If Chuck Liddell wanted to continue to simply fulfill his hunger for the love of fighting, would you be upset? It's a debate that rears its head from time to time. Who are we to say when someone should quit?
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the situation. I've never been a huge fan of Chuck Liddell, but I certainly would feel strange seeing Chuck take on subpar competition and losing matchups against younger competition. Furthermore, taking on Dana White in any situation can't be a good thing, and trying to move to Strikeforce or some other promotion would probably tarnish the legacy he has created with the UFC a bit. I'd be much more inclined to see Chuck start and.. end his career with the biggest and best MMA organization in the world. Will that happen?