After much speculation about his future in mixed martial arts, “The Iceman” Chuck Liddell (21-8) is officially calling it quits and hanging up his 4oz. gloves. But, this isn’t the last the long time veteran has seen of the UFC. The promotion’s president Dana White announced today at the UFC 125 pre-fight press conference that the former face of the UFC will serve as the organization’s new Executive Vice President of Business Relations. Liddell was visibly emotional when he addressed the media concerning his retirement from fighting and stated that he was looking forward to a new chapter in his career serving as an ambassador to those involved with the UFC’s global expansion.
The UFC Hall of Famer began his career in the UFC over 12 years ago and has since racked up 21 wins in his 29 fights. During that time he held the UFC light heavyweight belt for just over two years and defended it four times before losing it to “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (29-8) in 2007. After losing the title, Chuck fell on hard times, going 1-4 over the next three years and suffering brutal KO’s in all of his last three bouts. At this point Dana White said that he never wanted to see Liddell in the Octagon again and that he would always have a home in the UFC, just not as a fighter. Liddell’s career peaked just as the UFC began to break into the mainstream and his dominance over the light heavyweight division made him the face of the sport that the majority of the population was just beginning to notice. His aggressive style and brutal power earned the respect of the MMA community and his laid-back, no-frills personality won their hearts. Now “The Iceman” will look to make use of the business management and accounting degrees he earned prior to his MMA career in conjunction with that same winning personality to campaign for the legalization and regulation of MMA in those parts of the country, and the world, where MMA is currently banned.
General Douglas MacArthur once said that “old soldiers never die, they just fade away”. The same could easily be said of a fighter’s career, especially the career of fighter as prolific as Chuck Liddell. Chuck’s career as a fighter has faded, but it will never die because he will always be remembered by the fans as the man who brought MMA to the mainstream. The Ultimate Fighter would never have made it on cable TV without the excitement generated by “The Iceman” and his highlight reel career. Liddell made MMA resonate with the casual fans, now he will set out to do the same with the business partners and lawmakers that the UFC will have to win over for MMA to become a truly legitimate international sport. If he takes half of the passion into that office that he did into the cage, even New York assemblyman Bob Reilly will be counting down the days until he gets to see his favorite fighters appear in his hometown. Liddell said, “I love this sport, and I’m ready for a new chapter in my career.”