Chuck Liddell might be returning to MMA through Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, and Dana White isn’t a fan of it.
If you missed out on the unexpected news last week, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya was seen with legendary former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, as De La Hoya revealed plans to get into the MMA business, while Liddell said he was making a comeback.
Since then, De La Hoya has provided an update to TMZ Sports, saying that they’re “finalizing contracts, getting everything rolling.” He also indicated that he wants to make a third fight between “The Iceman” and longtime rival Tito Ortiz.
Liddell hasn’t fought since 2010, when he was knocked out by Rich Franklin in the UFC 115 main event. The 48-year-old hasn’t won a fight since his thriller vs. Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79 in 2007. For context, Oscar De La Hoya was still a few months removed from his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather the last time Liddell was victorious.
UFC president Dana White had urged Liddell to retire after being knocked out by Mauricio Rua in 2009, and when the Franklin fight happened, White said that Liddell would never fight in the UFC again. Sure enough, Liddell retired and took up a job as the UFC’s Vice President of Business Development.
How does White feel about the possibility of Chuck coming out of retirement, eight years removed from his last fight? In a recent episode of UFC Unfiltered, Dana hoped that Liddell was just getting into the promotional business with De La Hoya, not actually stepping back into the cage.
“I get it,” said White (via MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew). “Everybody sees whats going on, everybody wants a piece, and I hope that’s the case. What I do hope is that he is partnering up with Chuck Liddell and they are going to be partners other than have Chuck Liddell come in and fight. If they are going to partner up in the MMA business, nothing will make me happier. That is awesome and I would love to hear if that is true for Chuck. If he plans on kicking off his MMA program with Chuck fighting, that would not be good and really, really bum me out. Chuck Liddell is almost 50 years old, he doesn’t need to be fighting.”
Liddell’s office job was eliminated by the new UFC owners just months after the sale to WME-IMG was made official… and perhaps it’s not a coincidence that the comeback talk ramped up from there.