(“The Iceman” strikes an iconic pose.)
After dancing around the subject the last few years, Dana White officially announced the retirement of Chuck Liddell and said that effective immediately, the man who had become an icon for the promotion and a pop-cultural touchstone would take a position with the UFC as Executive Vice President of Business Development. Liddell finishes his career ranked #42 in our Light Heavyweight poll.
“The Iceman” became one of the UFC’s most marketable fighters in the early 2000s, appearing regularly on television talk shows and magazine covers, even appearing as himself in an episode of the HBO series “Entourage.” Liddell debuted at UFC 17 and fought a who’s-who of MMA notables including Jeremy Horn, Jeff Monson, Kevin Randleman, Guy Mezger, Vernon White, Tito Ortiz, Quinton Jackson, Alistair Overeem, Randy Couture, Renato Sobral, Vitor Belfort, and Murilo Bustamante before taking the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship from Couture at UFC 52. “The Iceman” defended the belt four times through the end of 2006 before losing it to Jackson at UFC 71. That fight marked the beginning of the end as Liddell would lose four of his last five fights in increasingly brutal fashion. With each loss came words of concern from White, who stated on several occasions that he didn’t feel comfortable with the idea that his friend and loyal employee might be suffer long-term damage from the knockouts. On July 10, 2009, Liddell he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
“With his background and expertise, Chuck is exactly the guy we need to work with regulators in existing and new jurisdictions, and work with all of the UFC athletes, as we grow this business around the world,” said White.
“I love the sport and I’m excited to go into a new stage in my life and keep promoting something that I love,” Liddell said. “I’ve enjoyed everything about being a professional athlete and a UFC champion. At this point in my life though, the real challenge for me is to continue helping the UFC become the global powerhouse that we all know it will become. I look forward to working with everyone at the UFC, especially all of the fighters, to make the UFC the biggest and most successful sports organization.”