Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell announced his official retirement from mixed martial arts competition today. In a press conference in promotion of the upcoming UFC 125: Resolution fight card, Liddell announced his retirement along with revealing his new position as executive vice president of business development. (Props to MMAJunkie.com)
“I want to thank Frank [Fertitta], Lorenzo [Fertitta] and Dana [White] for everything they’ve done for me over the years and for the sport,” an emotional Liddell stated. “Most of all, I want to thank my fans, my family,… I love this sport and I’m excited going into a new stage in my life and keep promoting the best sport in the world and the sport I love. They’re giving me the opportunity again to keep promoting and keep doing stuff now that I’m retired.”
Liddell is a UFC Hall of Famer and one of the sport’s most legendary figures. He is a former NCAA Division-1 wrestler from California Polytechnic State University, where he graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business/Accounting.
“He’s now on level and on par with all the top executives,” UFC president Dana White said of Liddell’s new position in the promotion.
Once one of the most feared competitors in the UFC’s 205-pound division, Liddell has gone 1-5 in his last six fights. He lost his UFC light heavyweight title to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in 2007 and then lost a decision to Keith Jardine. He would bounce back with a decision win over Wanderlei Silva but would then lose by knockout three times in a row to Rashad Evans, Mauricio Rua and Rich Franklin.
White had called for Liddell’s retirement for some time and he all but guaranteed it following the loss to Franklin, though he promised that “The Iceman” would be involved with the company in some capacity for years to come. UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta discussed Liddell’s new position and indicated that it will be a legitimate position that will draw on Liddell’s promotional experience in order to further grow the sport.
“He’s seen this sport evolve from a very niche sport to … a worldwide sport,” said Fertitta. “He’s going to be very involved.”
Liddell retires with a career record of 21-8 and one of the most impressive highlight reels in the sport.