Saturday night’s main event fight between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz went down as expected by many. The 48-year-old Liddell, who had been retired since 2010, was knocked out by the younger, more active Ortiz in the first-round of their fight, marking an end to their long-time rivalry.
“The Iceman’s” fourth straight knockout loss has been blamed on his team for allowing him to fight, the promoters for making an event out of it, and the California State Athletic Commission for sanctioning the fight. CSAC executive director Andy Foster, however, sees no error in their side of things.
“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,” Foster told MMA Fighting on Monday. “That’s a big responsibility to tell somebody they can’t make a living. I take that responsibility seriously.”
Final betting odds for the fight had “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” as the -315 favorite with Liddell as the +245 underdog. The younger Ortiz also looked more crisp on fight night than Liddell, who was moving significantly slower.
A number of people have called it a mismatch from the get-go, but Foster begs to differ.
“Chuck wanted to do it,” he explained. “I thought it would be competitive. At least I certainly didn’t think it was a mismatch. Your level of inactivity not withstanding, it’s hard to say it’s a mismatch when you’ve got two wins over the guy already.
“This would have been a whole lot easier for me if I just said no,” he added. “If I just say, ‘No, we’re not doing that.’ The regulations and the medical exams are not set up for the comfort of Andy Foster and whether it’s easy for me. This is a business and profession, the fight game.
“Chuck Liddell made money in this profession for many years. He wanted to enter this business and profession again, a business and profession he had been at the top of the world at, albeit a long time ago. If you pass all the medicals, the only thing left is, is the fight a mismatch? And I didn’t believe it was.”
Even after such a loss, Liddell remains non-committal about finally calling it quits.