Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell has traded in his gloves for a corner office.
He announced during the UFC 125 pre-fight press conference yesterday that he will no longer compete in MMA and that he will instead spend his time promoting the growth of the sport as the UFC’s new executive vice president of business development. MMANews.se caught up with Liddell after he made the emotional announcement and got his thoughts on retirement and his new job.
“I made the decision a while ago, but I wanted some time to kinda come to grips with it so I wouldn’t get as choked up as I did sayin’ it. You know, I talked it over with my family and friends and it’s time,” Liddell said. “I’ve been fighting — between kickboxing and MMA I’ve been fighting for over, almost 20 years. I made the decision a few months ago, but I asked them to keep it quiet, because they wanted to announce it, so I could hopefully not [get choked up], but it’s hard, man. I’ve been competing my whole life and it’s really hard to walk away when that’s all you know. That’s what I do. This is a way for me to go away and still stay involved with promoting the sport through the UFC.”
“The Iceman” also discussed his new position in the UFC and revealed that the heavy details are still being worked out, though it was mentioned during the presser that his role in the company will focus on growing the sport in new markets.
“Well, we’re gonna get more into the details of it, but it’s business development, so I’m gonna be working with all the new projects and different things trying to help and promote the sport and the UFC,” he said. “I’m gonna be doing that. I need something. I’m competitive and I need something to keep me driven. I need something to go after and do. I think this is probably the best way that I can keep continuing to grow the sport.”
Liddell was asked whether or not he would ever dust off the gloves and come out of retirement, á la Randy Couture, but the Californian shot down the idea that he would someday return to the game and declared his retirement a permanent one.
“Last time when they asked me that when I took a year off, I kept saying, ‘I’m takin’ time off.’ This is retirement,” Liddell asserted. “I was hoping to make a run for it, but it didn’t happen. I got caught and it’s just not in the cards. I’m retired.”
Liddell retired with a career record of 21-8; he lost his last three bouts via knockout.