After it was announced that Chuck Liddell will oppose Tito Ortiz in the upcoming 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter, Dana White was heard making some comments about Liddell at a UFC 107 press conference;
“I wanted [Liddell] to retire, it just went back and forth for so long. What he said to me was, ‘How about I take some time off. Let me take some time off.’ He did this ‘Dancing with the Stars’ thing, and he had fun with it. I was happy with how aggressively he went after it and really trained.”
Even though White doesn’t exactly approve of Liddell’s desire to step back into the cage again, he says he knows that Liddell is stay healthy and capable of fighting.
“He’s been checked out, he’s had the CAT Scans and all the other stuff. He’s healthy. He can fight. My thing is me and Chuck have been together since the beginning of this thing. For a promoter and a fighter to have the relationship that we’ve had for as long as we’ve had it – and he became such a huge superstar and everything else, and we’ve had this great relationship – the reality is I love this guy. I care about him personally.”
“Even back in my boxing days, you had this guy who was your hero when he was fighting, and then we all get old, man. We all get old. And it’s hard to deal with for some professional athletes. Then you see your guy, and he just keeps losing and losing and losing. You’re like, ‘[Expletive], I wish he would have retired three years ago.'”
White also said he wished Liddell was happy with staying on the sidelines, but he won’t stop him if he’s good enough shape for fighting.
“This is what these guys choose to do for a living, if there was a situation where Chuck wasn’t right to fight, Chuck wouldn’t be fighting. He can still fight, I just don’t want him to do it. The only thing wrong with Chuck is right now Chuck’s too old. Chuck hasn’t lived the Randy Couture lifestyle, I think you all know what I’m talking about. He’s had a much different lifestyle than Randy.”
“The reason that Chuck can even still compete is that he’s healthy. If I thought Chuck was at a point where he physically couldn’t compete anymore because he’s got a brain injury or something’s wrong, there’s no way in hell he would be fighting.”
Liddell is returning to TUF for season 11 as a coach and as a fighter, if for just one last time as White is hoping.
“I’m not thrilled with it,” White said. “It’s not what I wanted. But like I said, I’m not his father. I’m not his dad. We’ll see what happens after the Tito fight. I would like to see him hang it up after the Tito fight.”