Let’s be real here: Chuck Liddell doesn’t want to retire. If he did, he’d come out and say “Yeah, I’m retiring.” Instead, you have Dana White repeatedly saying he’s done and Chuck Liddell saying “I have to have a talk with Dana.” Dana’s already talking, man. The word is ‘Retire.’ There would be nothing to talk about unless Chuck thought differently.
Still, Chuck managed to squeeze another fight out of his friend before. Maybe he can do it again? Here’s how that’s looking based on Dana’s comments over the weekend. Via MMA Fighting:
“He can not do it again,” White said shortly after a UFC 116 press conference. “It will not happen again. This is a guy I care about and respect and consider a friend.”
“My problem isn’t with Chuck Liddell getting in shape or any of that stuff,” he said. “My problem is with Chuck’s chin. Anybody who’s been in the sport long enough knows you used to be able to hit him in the face with a crowbar and you couldn’t even wobble him. And that’s not the case anymore. It’s not worth it to me.”
“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.”
That’s some serious language at the end right there. Makes me try to imagine where Chuck might end up. Here’s more comments:
“It’s always cool hanging out with my friend, but Chuck’s having a hard time with this thing,” White said. “He told me tonight the show open messed him up, watching [UFC 116] open. This guy’s in this longer than me. He’s been around forever and loves the sport. All I’m hoping is that he makes the right decision.
“I’m hoping he’s going to retire,” White continued.
Now it’s a war of wills. Will Dana really release Chuck when there’s a no-brainer low risk fight against semi-cripple Tito Ortiz in the wings that could defuse the situation? The big problem with that fight is everyone knows both dudes are shot. Sure, they were shot before. But between another spinal fusion surgery for Tito and Chuck’s most recent cage nap still fresh in people’s minds, it’s kinda hard to set that fight up without feeling a little sketchy.