Sure, Dana White has once again come out and said that Chuck Liddell is done, over, finito. But until we hear it from Chuck, I’m not really gonna buy it. Still, listening to his coach John Hackleman talk to Sports Illustrated, it sounds pretty likely:
“I don’t think there’s too much to talk about,” Hackleman said. “I think we both know what he’s going to do. I won’t speak for him like Dana [White] did. I’ll just say I’d rather he not do it anymore.”
But if Liddell (21-8) chooses to fight again? If the UFC president relents and allows “The Iceman” in the Octagon even though twice saying he wouldn’t? Hackleman swore to be by his man’s side. He wouldn’t like it. But he couldn’t imagine walking away from Liddell. Not now. Not ever.
“If he’s gotta do it I’d rather be there looking after him than someone else,” the trainer said. “I don’t think it will come to that. I think he’s good right now. I think he’s in a good place and obviously wishes he won. But he’s a very successful guy that’s accomplished a lot in and out of the cage, and he doesn’t really need this anymore in any way. I don’t think he has anything to prove.”
Repeatedly alluding to Liddell’s “warrior mentality” — “The thing that made him the most famous, richest, most exciting superstar in the sport also can come back and haunt him” — Hackleman said after Liddell hurt Franklin with his still-heavy punches, “all the game planning went out the window and the warrior in him took over. He dropped his hands, took his chin up and started swinging for the fences. That’s the way he went in and that’s the way he went out. That’s just him.”
“Looking down at him cut like that, broke my heart,” said the trainer, fighting off tears.
There really is something about a KO’d Chuck that makes you wanna cradle him in your arms and tell him everything’s gonna be all right. He’s like a giant mohawked baby.