At risk of this getting sucked into the UFC 116 black hole, Dana White has apparently put his foot down with regards to Chuck Liddell's career. Mike Chiappetta of MMA Fighting has the scoop (emphasis mine):
The 40-year-old Liddell, who recently admitted in an interview that "I guess I'm not taking shots like I used to," also seemed to hedge on the retirement issue, saying it was not a decision he was prepared to make.
But if Liddell -- who had his wax likeness unveiled by the world famous Madame Tussauds museum Thursday -- wants to continue his fighting career, he'll have to do so out of the UFC.
"I guess if he asks me to release him, I'd release him," he said. "That's not what I want. But he'll never fight in the UFC again."
Take note, John Hackelman. It takes a little tough love to show someone you're serious.
I think Chuck Liddell can still fight, but he'd have to take a huge step down in competition. It's clear that he's slowed to the point where he can't keep up with the top guys in the division anymore. So if he wants to fight Stephan Bonnar or Eric Schafer, so be it.
That said, Dana should be commended for his actions here. Maybe it's one fight too late. Maybe he should have taken this stand after the "Shogun" Rua fight. But if Dana White is serious about not being complicit in Liddell's downfall, this is the only move he can really make. He can't hold Chuck's hand, but he sure as hell can keep from leading the lamb to the wolves.