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Chuck Liddell: I was promised a lifetime position in the UFC

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Chuck Liddell speaks up about being laid off by the UFC as a company executive.

With the purchase of the UFC from the Ferttita brothers in July 2016 came a number of major changes. Among them are the layoffs of a number of former fighters that were given executive positions in the company upon their retirement.

One of the names included in this list is former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell. When “The Iceman” announced his retirement from the sport in 2010, he was then hired as the UFC’s executive vice president of business development.

Liddell, along with fellow Hall-of-Famer Matt Hughes, held executive positions in the company for a total of seven years, before the new owners from WME-IMG decided to lay them off in December of the previous year. According to UFC president Dana White, such executive decisions are “absolutely normal,” but Liddell apparently had a difficult time dealing with it at first, especially since he was promised a lifetime arrangement.

“That’s what was told to me, too,” Liddell said on his recent MMA Hour appearance (via MMA Fighting). “But it happens. Life changes. And I think at first I took it a little hard, but now I look at it as a blessing in disguise. It’s got me re-motivated to go out and find what I really want to do.”

“It is what it is. It’s a business decision, you know? They made a business decision and that’s what it is. I was led to believe that’s not what it was going to be, but it happened and it is what it is.”

While Liddell lost his job, White and the Ferttitas pocketed a hefty amount from the $4 billion sale. But even so, he harbors no ill feelings, and even congratulated his former employers for all the hard work that had massively paid off.

“Congratulations to the guys, man. They did a great job of building the sport and the company and they were able to sell it for a lot of money. That’s a lot of money,” Liddell said. “It’s a crazy amount.”

“I wasn’t aware they were even selling. I mean, I heard the rumors and then talked to Dana, he said they weren’t, then they ended up selling a couple of weeks later. So, I wasn’t really privy to that, to what was going on, but that’s a high number, man. I’m happy for them, and they took a risk for a long time. Frank and Lorenzo took a risk for quite awhile trying to make it work, and it worked for them.”