The California State Athletic Commission has come under fire for their licensing of former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell. Chuck hadn’t fought since 2010 and at 48 years old he is well past his prime. His last three losses in the organization were by brutal knockout causing his friend and UFC head Dana White to force him to retire. Obviously he did not stay retired and at Golden Boy’s first MMA outing on Saturday he was knocked out cold again this time by bitter rival Tito Ortiz. Chuck had knocked Tito out in their first two bouts but it was not to be in the 3rd and hopefully final time they would face each other.
Ortiz had gotten his sweet, chin checking revenge. It should have been a triumphant moment for him and his fans yet somehow we all felt hollow inside. One of the biggest legends in the sport was laying unconscious again on a cage mat looking like an old man, and a shell of his former self.
What started all of this seemed harmless enough. Chuck had a little fun with us, the media, when he and Tito were in the same place at the same time not too long ago – and not killing each other. He posted a staged photo of the two squaring off and because no one thought it would happen there was admittedly a bit of buzz about the potential trilogy closer. It was fun to reminisce about days gone by when they popped PPV numbers way back at UFC 47 and pulled in a record at the time 1M buys for UFC 66. Then number 3 was scheduled, happened, and the aftertaste was bittersweet. A 43 year old Tito knocked out a slow, out of shape Chuck Liddell.
Immediately the CSAC was called out for licensing Liddell by Dana White and just about anyone with a social media account prompting Executive Director Andy Foster to answer them (via MMAFighting).
It’s hard to say it’s a mismatch when you’ve got two wins over the guy already. If you tell somebody as the executive officer, ‘Yeah, I don’t think you should be doing this even though you passed all your medicals,’ you’re basically telling that fighter, you can’t make a half a million dollars or however much he was making. That’s a big responsibility to tell somebody they can’t make a living. I take that responsibility seriously. This is a business and profession, the fight game. If you pass all the medicals, the only thing left is, is the fight a mismatch? And I didn’t believe it was.