In early 2007 Chuck Liddell, the reigning UFC light heavyweight champion, made an appearance on WFAA’s Good Morning Texas show. His demeanour during that show would go viral, making this appearance one of the more infamous MMA/mainstream cross-over events ever.
Throughout his appearance Liddell slurred his words and appeared on the verge of passing out. That lead one YouTube user to title his upload of the interview ‘Chuck Liddell Drunk Interview’. You can see the whole thing below:
The appearance was so shocking that Nevada forced Liddell to undergo extra drug testing ahead of his next fight.
Recently Liddell went on record, for the first time, explaining what happened that morning in Texas. According to The Iceman, who discussed the incident with UFC President Dana White on his Icebreakers podcast, the culprit for his sloth-like performance wasn’t alcohol, it was Ambien.
“This dude was fighting his ass off. He was ruling the world. He was cashing big f*cking checks,” said White on the podcast, while chatting about Liddell’s success (ht MMA Fighting). “He had sponsors, he had all that sh*t, but as much of a rock star as he was inside of the sport, he was outside the sport, too. Meaning in the clubs and f*cking hanging out and doing all that sh*t. Ended up in the infamous interview he did down in Texas, where I don’t know, he was out partying all night.”
That’s when Liddell jumped in to set the record straight.
“Actually that night I didn’t go out. I hadn’t gone out cause I was sick from going out. I took Ambien. My buddy gave me Ambien. I was having problems sleeping. I don’t know how they woke me up. They didn’t wake me up mentally, but they got me to that show somehow. I don’t know how.”
“I didn’t even remember getting home,” continued Liddell. “I was in Texas, I had to fly to San Diego and somebody drove me from San Diego to [San Luis Obispo], and I don’t remember getting home. That’s how bad that was. It was the weirdest.”
A few months after this incident Liddell lost his 205 lb title after a TKO loss versus Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson at UFC 71.
After that loss, his first in four years, Liddell lost a split decision to Keith Jardine, rebounded with a decision victory over Wanderlei Silva, and then lost three straight (all by KO/TKO) to Rasahd Evans, Shogun Rua and Rich Franklin before announcing his retirement from MMA.
Liddell returned to the cage in 2018 to fight Tito Ortiz, a man he beat twice in his heyday. This time around, at Golden Boy Promotions: Liddell vs. Ortiz 3, Liddell lost by KO in the first round. After the fight Liddell stated that he was retiring from MMA, again.