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Maggie Hendricks

Dana White: Mask and Liddell are the Hall of Fame inductees

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Dana White confirmed via his Twitter that former UFC champion Chuck Liddell and founder of Tapout Clothing, Charles "Mask" Lewis, will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. Their induction is part of the UFC Fan Expo, a fan event that is part of the celebration for UFC 100.

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Liddell has been key to the rise of the UFC, starting with the promotion at UFC 17 in 1998. He quickly became a fan favorite, and fought in some of the UFC's biggest events, including several bouts with Hall-of-Famer Randy Couture, and former champion Tito Ortiz. The "Iceman" held the light heavyweight belt for more than two years, and defended it four times. However, Liddell is not only known for being a great fighter, but for being a popular figure beyond the world of MMA. He appeared on the HBO hit show "Entourage," was a cover boy for ESPN the Magazine, and even was "Punk'd" on the MTV prank show. He's the fighter that you know even if you don't know MMA.

He has been a source of discussion of late, because after two losses, White said Liddell was retired. Liddell said he wasn't sure what to do, and would fight, at the earliest, in 2010. This induction into the Hall of Fame may be a nudge from White towards retirement, though other Couture and Mark Coleman, both Hall-of-Famers, are still fighting.

Charles "Mask" Lewis has helped the UFC grow from behind the scenes. Well, as "behind the scenes" as you can get when you proudly run your company wearing face paint, camoflauge and a top hat. Lewis, who died tragically in a car accident in March, founded a clothing company, Tapout, that sponsored and outfitted fighters from day one. He grew Tapout into a multimillion-dollar business, and along the way picked up the Tapout crew, ubiquitous on the fight scene. Many fighters would not have been able to continue to train full time without Tapout's financial help.

The three men of Tapout -- "Mask," "Skyskrape" and "Punkass" -- spent the past few years driving around the country in search of the next great fighter, and documented it on a reality show on Versus. Lewis's work on the fight scene was cut short by his death, but his impact on MMA in general and the UFC in particular goes without question.

Liddell and Lewis will join Couture and Coleman, as well as MMA pioneers Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn as members of the UFC Hall of Fame.

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