Yesterday (Monday, May 14, 2018) former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell made waves by confirming he would come out of retirement.
Many were not surprisingly questionable of the 48-year-old’s chances in any legitimate MMA fight, yet it wasn’t all that much of a surprise given that “The Iceman” had been teasing a trilogy bout with Tito Ortiz for months. What was beyond questionable, however, was his callout of currently suspended former champion Jon Jones, who responded with a seething reply later in the day.
While the ridiculous match-up would almost never happen with Jones facing a potentially lengthy suspension from USADA and Liddell out of the UFC and likely never to return, it appears that the longtime UFC fan favorite will still be able to compete in his home state on one serious condition.
California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) Executive Director Andy Foster – who is, ironically enough, dealing with Jones’ suspension at the state level – told MMAjunkie that Liddell will be licensed to fight in the state if he passes advanced medical testing:
“If Chuck passes his medicals – his advanced medicals … I will administratively grant him a license.”
The report stated that when licensing fighters older than 40 (Liddell is now 48), the CSAC follows guidelines from the Association of Ringside Physicians (ARP). The rules call for each fighter to submit a magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) of their brain, annual testing that includes a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain without contrast, EKG, cardiac testing, neurocognitive testing, blood work, and a vision test.
Foster claimed he would have no issue licensing Liddell ‘if he passed all his medicals,’ but if any of his tests came back abnormal “or subsequently suggest deterioration in health status,” the ARP would side with the decision to not license ‘The Iceman.’
And after the initial series of medical tests, Foster said that Liddell’s ability to compete is different than his ability to get licensed, and would ultimately depend on whom his opponent is. With Liddell rumored to take on Ortiz under Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions later this year, Foster wouldn’t take the bait and name the opponent:
“It would obviously depend on the opponent. I don’t want to comment on who the opponent is. You’re the reporter, and you know dang well who it is. But his ability to license is different from his ability to compete, and his ability to compete would depend on who the opponent is.”
So Foster did everything but name Ortiz, and he also said that the fellow former UFC great would have to renew his license as well. ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ retired after submitting Chael Sonnen at Bellator 170.
UFC President Dana White has understandably spoken out against Liddell’s comeback after he was the one who essentially commanded ‘The Iceman’ step down after three straight knockout losses to end his career. But after the UFC offered him a job for life then took it away when new owners Endeavor came along, he obviously doesn’t care too much about what they think.
That means we could legitimately be seeing Liddell vs. Ortiz III later this year, and from the sound of it, the fight may just take place in California.
Do you want to see it happen?