Chuck Liddell still has yet to say a word about his potential retirement. Apparently, he’s been getting in some R&R vacationing with his kids and checking out the Kentucky Derby, or at least the big parties in town for the derby (probably more the latter).
Nevertheless, John Hackleman is still addressing Chuck’s future in the media, and while no decision has been made, his comments are leaning more and more towards Chuck fighting again, possibly even outside the UFC if it came to that.
John Hackleman, Liddell’s longtime trainer and close friend, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) – with confidence – that Liddell isn’t done yet. Liddell has one more fight on his UFC contract, but Hackleman hinted that the fighter would explore competing elsewhere if White keeps the door closed.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Hackleman said in a telephone interview. “Just on his abilities, his skill and his power, and what he has left, I think he has more than one fight left in him. Maybe his game isn’t what it was 10 years ago. I don’t know. But he’s definitely at the top of the food chain.
“Who beat him? ‘Shogun’ (Rua). Quinton (Jackson). Rashad (Evans). And he was barely beaten in a really close, one-point fight by [Keith] Jardine, so it’s not like he was knocked out by Shannon Ritch.”
“They don’t have to throw him into a killer fight every single time; I mean Jesus Christ,” Hackleman said. “He’s won a hell of a lot more than he’s lost, but when you lose a couple and you’re Chuck Liddell, people start talking about retirement and this went wrong, that went wrong, everything went wrong.
Well, I think it’s pretty obvious what John Hackleman thinks Chuck should do. They’ve been together for a long time, so undoubtedly his opinion will have a strong influence on Chuck’s decision, but of course, we’ll have to wait and see what Chuck decides.
According to the Junkie article, Hackleman apparently hinted that they would go elsewhere for fights if the UFC refused to keep promoting him. I didn’t see any actual quotes suggesting that, but if Liddell and Hackleman are planning on keeping that option open, things definitely have the potential to get interesting between them and the UFC.
As I’ve said before, legally speaking, I don’t see how Dana can force Chuck into retirement. Unless he has some wacky clause in his contract, the UFC is obligated to offer him the remaining fight on his contract before it expires, or release him. I don’t know how much time is left on his contract, but it must be getting near the end. They could freeze him like they did with Arlovski, but that would only be a short-term fix.
At the end of the day though, Chuck has the upper-hand. If Chuck wants to fight again, Chuck will fight again whether it’s for the UFC or apparently someone else. Although let’s be serious here, Dana and Co. would never let it get that far, would they?
Image courtesy of CombatLifestyle.com