Doin' the Man Dance: Chuck Liddell to appear on "Dancing with the...

Doin' the Man Dance: Chuck Liddell to appear on "Dancing with the Stars"

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This morning the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced that Chuck Liddell, former light heavyweight champion and the promotion’s most recognizable fighter, will appear on this fall’s edition of the ABC television show, “Dancing with the Stars.”

While the image of a stonefaced Liddell gliding around the studio floor with a scantily-clad instructor is amusing, the reality television show booking is a public relations coup for the UFC. After James Thompson’s ear exploded on CBS last year major networks might be skittish about broadcasting MMA but they still want some of that powerful pop culture mojo to rub off on them. And while there may be a spike (no pun intended) in 18 to 34-year-old men tuning in to DWTS this fall, it’s more likely that DWTS viewers will gravitate towards the UFC after becoming attached to Liddell.

The Indy Racing League experienced this phenomenon after champion driver Helio Castroneves won the competition in 2007. Open wheel racing has struggled in the United States since the rise of NASCAR in the 1990s. After Castroneves’ reality TV turn, women flocked to races not because they were all of the sudden enamored of Indy cars but because Castroneves was so dreamy. Now Liddell resides several notches down from the Brazilian driver on the charm continuum but he has a certain quality that some women gravitate to.

More than anyone, Dana White understands the power of reality TV. But he also knows that the real potential lies in turning those casual viewers into paying fans and to do that, Liddell will have to fight again. I would expect Liddell to be booked for at least one fight in the Octagon near the end of this season of DWTS to cash in on the exposure. Because no matter how he fares on the show, Liddell knows one dance better than any other.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I think it’s great that Liddell will be on the show. My girlfriend loves “Dancing with the Stars” and I love MMA. This show might even bring us closer together with the Ice Man on the show. Plus I really do believe that Chucky needs to redeem himself after that devastating loss to Shogun. I’m hoping that his partner doesn’t catch him with a right hook. LET HIM DANCE DAMMIT!!!

  2. TO JOSH:

    HOW IS THIS IN ANY WAY A STEP BACK FOR CHUCK LIDDELL? OR AN EMBARRASSMENT FOR THE UFC? DID YOU EVEN READ THE ARTICLE? IF ANYTHING IT BRINGS A BIT MORE RESPECT TO THE EVER GROWING WORLD OF MMA AND UFC. THIS IS A GREAT WAY TO APPEAL TO A WHOLE NEW SPECTRUM OF AUDIENCES ACROSS THE NATION. TO SHOW THE “NAY-SAYERS” THAT THESE ARE NORMAL PEOPLE JUST DOING WHAT THEY LOVE TO DO, AND IT JUST SO HAPPENS WHAT THEY LOVE TO DO IS FIGHT. BUT ITS OK FOR MICHAEL IRVIN, EMMITT SMITH, STEVE-O AND THE COUNTLESS OTHER CELEBRITIES THAT HAVE TAKEN THAT STAGE TO GO EMBARASS THEMSLEVES OR THEIR SPORT? YOU REALLY NEED TO SIT BACK, DO SOME RESEARCH, AND THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU JUST START TRASH TALKING. BECAUSE TO BE HONEST WITH YOU.. YOU ARE THE EMBARRASSMENT!!

  3. i agree with josh. im not sure if this would be a good mix but it does bring exposure

  4. Chuck Liddell was most likely put on the DWTS show becasue some producer thought it would be a good side show to see a former Octogon champion prance around on a dance floor. Yes, this is an embarrassment for MMA and the UFC because DWTS is more a circus act than anything else. Remember that Jason Taylor was traded away by Bill Parcels and the Miami Dolphins in part because he chose to participate in DWTS. At least one NFL exec feels the way I do. It’s one thing for soap opera stars to jitterbug in front of the nation on live television, but it’s entirely another for a star of a sport trying to increase legitimacy to have one of its frontmen make a fool of himself doing the foxtrot and getting critiqued by Bruno no less. And what the article fails to mention is how many of the DWTS fans are now IRL fans and continue to tune into the indy car races. Let’s face it, the demographics for DWTS and the UFC are polar opposite and DWTS is the wrong venue to try and cross-promote MMA and the UFC!

    • There is no data on the effect DWTS had on IRL ratings/attendance. It’s simply an illustration of how mainstream exposure can help keep a fringe sport in the public eye.

      Your Jason Taylor argument does more to support my point than yours. Football coaches are control freaks by definition and impose their will on a group of men for the purpose of team building. The UFC benefits from the promotion of individual athletes, so having Chuck Liddell on broadcast television for one, two, or ten weeks does nothing but increase their exposure.

      The fact that DWTS demographics are all wrong for the UFC is the point – if the Iceman can give a bunch of middle aged women the warm fuzzies it normalizes the sport in the American mainstream, lowering resistance to seeing fights on the four major broadcast networks.

      Thanks for reading!

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