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Dana White waves the white flag on Chuck Liddell’s career: “He went out the way Chuck Liddell would want to go out”

By Zach Arnold | June 13, 2010

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“The one thing is this like, OK, if it’s the end of [Chuck Liddell’s] career, at least he went out with a great performance, even though he got knocked out. I mean, he looked good and that’s when he went down, I was really sad. It’s like, damn, you know like, I had no favorite on who would win or lose in the sense that you know Rich Franklin I knew trained really, really hard but it was just a shame. I guess in a sense it was a shame that either guy was going to have to lose because the loss was devastating for whoever lost this fight, you know what I mean, whoever lost… if Liddell lost, his career was over, if Franklin lost his days as a headliner are over. Yeah, I mean, it delivered, you got a knockout and it looks like the end of Liddell’s career.” Dave Meltzer, 6/13/2010, Observer radio show

There will be no third fight between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, which I think is probably the best outcome for both fighters. I will say that the first thought in my mind after Rich Franklin beat Chuck Liddell was the prospects of Franklin vs. Ortiz with Franklin building on a “legend killer” persona (my apologies to Randy Orton and WWE). For Tito’s sake, he needed Chuck to win to get the third match. Now? His options were already limited and they became more limited after UFC 115 ended. A fight with Rich Franklin would be a bad outcome for him. Perhaps a rematch with Forrest Griffin? (Though not a lot of people cared the first time around.)

Check out what Rich Franklin had to say at the post-fight press conference:

QUESTIONER: “Rich, at the end of the fight when you got off and you kind of had this look on your face, what was going through your mind at the time?”

RICH FRANKLIN: “I was just happy the fight was over because I knew my arm was broken in the fight and I definitely wasn’t going to quit. I’ve broken bones before and continued fighting, but there was part of me that was wondering how I was going to be able to like what kind of strategy I was going to use to win the fight with a broken left arm in the second and third round.

“The arm break was actually earlier in the round, it was one of the high-kicks, I don’t know maybe… what time in the round did the fight stop? (5 seconds). Yeah, because I heard the 10 second call come out and I would say maybe like two minutes in or something like that, I’m guessing, is when that kick came because I was having trouble like when I was down on the ground getting back up and posting and all of that kind of stuff as well but you know Chuck caught me with a couple of punches and I kind of got stupid standing in front of him but it looked like he was making himself tired so I was just kind of letting him make himself tired. He was putting a lot of energy into punches that weren’t landing and then he caught me with a couple of combinations there but nothing that really rocked me. It kind of put me back and then he follows up big when he thinks he has you hurt and I just tried to stay tight and threw the lead hook and it caught him on the chin.”

QUESTIONER: “Any thought on potentially being his very last opponent, the last time The Iceman was in the Octagon?”

RICH FRANKLIN: “Uh, no, not really. I mean… (pained reaction) It’s kind of a bittersweet victory because Chuck and I are friends. I really like Chuck. I went to his locker room after the fight to check on him but he was with the doctors and I just spoke to John Hackleman for a few seconds and like I don’t want to be the guy labeled as the person that kind of put him out of the sport or whatever, I don’t like the thought of that.”

As for what Dana White had to say about the end of Chuck Liddell’s career and future with UFC…

Watch the video interview to see Dana’s mixture of emotions when he discusses the topic.

ARIEL HELWANI: “The event is over, and if you can, can you take off the UFC President hat for a second and put on the friend hat. What was it like seeing your Chuck Liddell out on the canvas again?”

DANA WHITE: “Obviously, you know, when you’re friends with somebody you never like to see that but you know, I feel good about tonight. You know, Chuck and I sat down, we talked about this, and my big concern with Chuck was taking this serious and he did, he went above and beyond on that. He looked better than I’ve ever seen him. He was in great shape and in my opinion he went out the way Chuck Liddell would want to go out, you know, he went out there and fought the way that made him a world champion and made him famous, man, he went out guns-a-blazin’, was trying to knock Rich Franklin out, and you know just a testament of what kind of shape he was in tonight, when’s the last time you saw Chuck Liddell throwing head kicks and leg kicks? You know, there was a while there where he wasn’t even lifting his feet off the floor. Thought he looked great tonight and… you know, again, without sounding condescending, I’m proud of him.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “But more to that point, up until the knockout, did you in fact think he had sort of improved or reinvented himself?”

DANA WHITE: “Well, I wouldn’t say reinvented himself, I would say he looked like The Iceman of old, you know, there was no doubt in my mind what he was going to do. He was going to go out there and stalk Rich Franklin and try to knock him out and because Rich is a southpaw he’s probably going to throw big right hands, left hooks, but I was impressed. He was throwing kicks, he went for a takedown just to mess Rich up so that Rich wouldn’t think that he was going to just punch and kick. I thought Chuck looked great right up until it ended.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Would The Iceman of old have gotten knocked out by that punch?”

DANA WHITE: “Absolutely not. Nope. Chuck Liddell is one of those guys that had a chin that you could hit him with a steel bar and not knock him out. His chin was legendary back in the day, I mean he fought all the best guys in the world and he would get hit with big shots and just keep right on coming.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Did you have a chance to talk to him after the fight?”

DANA WHITE: “I didn’t, you know they took him right out and he went to the hospital and it was the end of the show so I ended up getting caught in the arena.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “I don’t want to put you in this position again, but after UFC 97 you said that was the last time we’d see him fight again. What about this time? Do you think this is the end for him?”

DANA WHITE: “I guarantee you that tonight is the last night.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Can you really, though, guarantee it? Because you know how fighters are, they’re persuasive. Do you really think you’ll be able to convince him?”

DANA WHITE: “I guarantee you, tonight was the last night.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “OK, and how about Rich Franklin? You said often that he is the most underrated fighter in your company. How impressed were you with what he did out there?”

DANA WHITE: “I thought he looked awesome tonight and you know what’s even more impressive? Chuck Liddell broke his arm with that kick he hit him with and you know Rich didn’t stop and wince and try to say, hey I broke my arm, Rich kept right on fighting and with 10 seconds in the fight knocked Chuck Liddell out. I don’t know why so many people keep dogging Rich Franklin and underrating him. You know, he’s fought all the best in the world, the toughest guys out there, and he’s always in the mix, man.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Is he in the you know Rashad Evans, (Lyoto) Machida, Rampage (Jackson) mix or does he need one more fight, one more big win to get into that mix?”

DANA WHITE: “No, I think tonight though, you know, the way that he won and you know who he is and how long he’s been around. How does a guy like Rich Franklin, ‘oh he has to work his way back up.’ Yeah, he has to work his way to the title, but he’s in the mix with all those other guys.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “What kind of role will [Chuck Liddell] have in the UFC? Because you said he’s always going to have a place in this family.”

DANA WHITE: “It’s going to depend, you know, it depends on what he wants to do. You know, Chuck’s always going to be with us and always going to be around and I need to get together with him and see exactly what he wants to do and how he wants to handle this whole thing.”

Topics: All Topics, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 11 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

11 Responses to “Dana White waves the white flag on Chuck Liddell’s career: “He went out the way Chuck Liddell would want to go out””

  1. klown says:

    Griffin-Franklin is a logical follow-up here. The winner would be one more win away from a title shot.

  2. cutch says:

    Couture assuming he gets by Toney would be a good fight, Franklin has said he will only fight part time, so why risk him beating a potential LHW contender like Forrest.

    I could see them going ahead with Forrest Vs Lil Nog and in my mind it would be a toss up, going by how average Lil Nog looked in his last fight.

    • klown says:

      I’d like to see Lil Nog take on the winner of Jones-Matyushenko, and the winner gets into the title mix.

      I don’t see Franklin walking away from a title run with good momentum.

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    Liddell looked great. Great shape. Better gameplanning. The problem is that he is too old and has no chin. Time to retire.

  4. robthom says:

    I have no interest in seeing ortiz do anything.

    He was the farthest thing from my mind until you mentioned him.


  5. liger05 says:

    Want to go out like that? You crazy. I really doubt Liddell is glad to have been knocked out like that. No different to Hatton getting brutally ko’ed v Pacquiao. I dont think for one minute he would liked to of gone out of the game like that.

  6. rainrider says:

    Lidell x Franlkin resembled Takada’s last match against Kiyoshi Tamura. Or Satake’s final relevant K-1 match against Andy Hug. Chuck did not fight a smart fight. He just wanted to let all out what’s left in him.

  7. Tradition Rules says:

    45 Huddle says:

    “Liddell looked great. Great shape. Better gameplanning. The problem is that he is too old and has no chin. Time to retire.”

    Chuck, for, the most part, looked very good. I really liked what he used on offence.

    Where he ws really lacking was movement of his head, his neck was as stiff as a board. His head seemed a reletivly easy target.

    As far as his chin goes, it more then just age. it starts to go after being hit so hard so often.

    but age is certainly a factor.

  8. I’ll be surprised if Liddell doesn’t ask for another fight. What else is he gonna do? Make appearances at strip clubs?


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