Still no word from Chuck Liddell yet on whether or not he’s going to hang it up. In the meantime though, Chuck’s longtime head trainer, John Hackleman, has done his best to make it crystal clear that it will be Chuck’s decision and no one else’s.
Meanwhile, Dana White has been telling every media outlet that will listen that Chuck is done, he’s forcing him into retirement. According to Hackleman though, Dana’s guaranteeing something he can’t actually deliver if Chuck’s not willing to retire.
“I don’t care what his contract says, said Hackleman. “If it went to court you can’t stop someone from their livelihood. If he’s under contract with the UFC they have to give him a fight or if they don’t they have to let him go. They just can’t say you aren’t going to fight. Chuck is still under contract and they have to give him a fight or let him go.”
“I have to trains of thoughts, said Hackleman. “One, Dana can do what he wants because he has two multi-millionaires as his partners. It’s his ballgame. He can play it anyway he wants. It doesn’t have to be good business because they make so much money. He can make a bad business decision and still make a lot of money.”
“On the other side of that I think a big part of his decision making is that he cares for Chuck,” said Hackleman. “He cares for his well being. I think he think he’s looking out for him. It’s irritating. He spouts off sometimes and he has the big boys backing him with the money but he does care for Chuck. That’s his first concern.”
What happens from here is anyone’s guess (although Chuck’s good friend Jay Glazer thinks he’s going to retire), but one thing apears to be certain. Considering Dana said it will be “war,” Chuck and Dana’s relationship is going to be put to the test if they fail to agree on this. Unless Chuck has special provisions in his contract, I don’t see how the UFC can refuse to give him a fight, yet still legally keep him on their roster.
In fact, in late 2007, when Randy Couture expressed his intentions to never fight for the UFC again, the UFC offered him the Nogueira fight not only with the hopes of him accepting, but to also close up any loopholes Randy could have used to escape his contract.
This situation could definitely get interesting if both parties decide to hold their ground. In the end though, I would imagine the UFC would give in before letting Chuck get away. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.