Long-time UFC color commentator Mike Goldberg recently appeared on TapouT Radio to offer his take on Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell’s recent loss to Rich Franklin and to express what he thinks Liddell has meant for MMA and what implications his probable retirement holds.
“It’s more than sad, it’s the end of an era,” said Goldberg of Liddell’s latest knockout loss, transcribed by Fighter’s Only. “He was the face, the guy on the cover of every magazine, every homepage. He was the guy that everyone wanted to interview when this thing went on a major rise. Randy [Couture] and Rich [Franklin] and Matt Hughes and BJ Penn, all great fighters and personalities, but undoubtedly Chuck is the most recognizable athlete in MMA history and the poster boy for the UFC.”
Goldberg believes that Liddell, while certainly saddened by his loss, will leave the sport (if he actually retires) secure in the knowledge that he went out in true Chuck Liddell fashion.
“So it is sad but he walks away a very wealthy man, he is still a very healthy man and with everything that has changed in his life over the last year I think he walks away a happy man,” Goldberg said. “Not happy that he lost, not happy that he was knocked out in his last three but happy that he did it right and what happened, happened.”
Goldberg is looking at the loss as positively as possible and says that even though it was sad to see Liddell fall, it was for the best that the loss came at the hands of Rich Franklin–a respectful former champion who understands the implications of most likely retiring one of the most recognizable MMA fighters on the planet.
“As hard as it was to see that match up of two great people, great fighters – one Hall of Famer and one Hall of Famer-to-be–I would much rather see [the loss] come at the hands of Rich Franklin than some up-and-comer who wouldn’t understand or respect or put in perspective that knockout and what the final punch thrown against Chuck Liddell means,” said Goldberg. “Rich Franklin knows that and he embraces it and understands it.”
After all, losing to Franklin is a much easier pill to swallow than losing to rival and originally-scheduled-opponent Tito Ortiz.
“I am glad that [the end] came at the hands of a classy guy like Rich Franklin,” said Goldberg. “If you are Chuck you would much rather have it come from Rich than Tito. I don’t know that Tito would have landed one but Chuck would not want to wake up every morning saying ‘Whoa, Tito put me into retirement’.”