Mailbag: Chuck’s mystery video
You can follow Kevin Iole on Twitter at @KevinI
LAS VEGAS – There’s still no official word whether the, ahem, workout Chuck Liddell was doing in the nude with girlfriend Heidi Northcott at St. Louis Cardinals’ Brad Penny’s home is part of some sort of marketing campaign.
Yet, several days after the grainy video of the former Ultimate Fighting Championship star and his girlfriend exercising in the nude hit the Internet, there’s still no company stepping forward to claim it.
And Liddell, who claims the video is legitimate, hardly seemed upset by its release, even though if it’s legitimate, he would have been the victim of a crime.
Asked about it, Liddell shrugged and said he’d call his daughter to tell her about it, since she searches the Internet for his name every day. Beyond that, though, “The Iceman” lived up to his name and was cool as can be.
“I was staying at a buddy’s house and we thought it would be funny to go work out,” Liddell said. “I don’t know why the [expletive] they would do that.”
He was asked if he knew who shot it.
“There was no one else at the house,” Liddell said. “There was no one staying there. My buddy’s out of town. It was at Brad’s house, Brad Penny. We were just staying at his house. He has a private gym. You walk past his pool and there’s a private gym. We go into the sauna all the time and there’s a hot tub right there.
“It’s not a big deal. We’ve never had a problem. I’m more worried about Heidi. Well, she’s cool about it and isn’t getting too upset. She’s not real happy about it. I’m not happy about it. Well, I’m not real shy. My kids can see it and that’s the part, explaining it, that’s hard.” I suspect we’ll hear more about this before too long. But with that, let’s delve into this week’s very busy mixed martial arts mailbag.
If “Rampage” comes into the fight hungry and in shape, then I definitely favor him to win, which is no slight against Rashad. I agree that you know what you’re going to get with Rashad. He’s going to be in shape. He’s going to be prepared. He’s going to have a good game plan. “Rampage” is more of a wild card. Assuming both men enter the cage at their best, I think “Rampage” is stronger and more physically skilled and will get the win. But I have great respect for Rashad and would not in any way be shocked if he won.
On paper, WEC 48 has a great card, with Jose Aldo defending the featherweight title against Urijah Faber, a rematch between Benson Henderson and Donald Cerrone for the lightweight championship and former featherweight champion Mike Brown meeting Manny Gamburyan. But what are expectations for the sales on this? I think it does around 100,000, maybe 150,000. Is that a bomb? For the first time out, I don’t think so. But in any event, I don’t think the WEC will merge with the UFC, even though I like the idea. WEC general manager Reed Harris, matchmaker Sean Shelby and UFC matchmaker Joe Silva are all strongly against it.
I’m a huge Henderson fan, and I’m really excited to see him take on Shields for the belt. Do you think we’ll see him fight Gegard Mousasi in Strikeforce? I hope to see Henderson win the middleweight title fight against Shields, but I think a fight between Henderson and Mousasi would be great.
I do expect that fight to occur, probably in the next time out for each guy. I concur that it will be a great match.
What is your take on Frank Mir’s recent comments about wanting to see UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar become the first person to die from Octagon-related injuries? Could Frank face any legal problems from issuing death threats? Is this just his way of trying to get a rematch? It seems a little over the top to me.
Long Beach, Wash.
I think it was a very stupid thing to say and it made him look like a fool. That said, he clearly was just trying to hype a fight and he got carried away. He didn’t threaten Lesnar. He’ll pay the price for it, because I’m sure his sponsors weren’t happy, the UFC clearly wasn’t happy and I’m going to bet his family was plenty angry. And if fans who are upset at him don’t buy tickets to his fights and/or boycott his merchandise, he’ll pay an even bigger penalty. Mir was just trying to build a rubber match and got carried away. Even though it was an idiotic comment, there’s no reason for any legal action.
Nog hasn’t performed at a high level often in the UFC. He was dominated by Mir and Velasquez and was only average in wins over Heath Herring and Tim Sylvia. The only UFC fight that he really looked good in was against Randy Couture. I think he needs to take some time off and then a step down in competition. If he can’t turn it back around, then it would be time to say goodbye. I think he still has some good fights left in him, but I believe he needs time off to recharge and recover.
Is there anybody out there you think could beat or at least challenge UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva right now?
Not really. MMA is a sport in which anything can happen, so anybody on a given night could be beaten. But I think Silva is far and away superior to all the middleweights and theoretically, if he fought each of the 10 best middleweights 10 times, he’d probably win no less than eight of those 10 and in a lot of cases, he’d win either nine or 10 of 10.
I want to chime in on Cain Velasquez. Cain is a hard worker, skilled wrestler and his stand up has noticeably improved. I believe what most people fail to address is that he is only 240 pounds and he really hasn’t fought anyone worthy of mention. Nothing against Nogueira, who was an incredible fighter in his day, but he hasn’t beat a marquee opponent in several years. And, please, don’t say Heath Herring or a 220-pound Randy Couture are top-tier opponents. They aren’t and we all know it. Cain really hasn’t fought anyone. The biggest problem that I see with Cain is his weight. The UFC is no longer a fight club, in which 135-pound jiu-jitsu players manhandle 400-pound sumo wrestlers. In today’s UFC, fighters are physically gifted athletes who are obsessed with good training habits, thought-out game plans, and very strict diets. Brock has superior wrestling, tight stand-up, and a rapidly improving ground and pound. Brock is vastly stronger and will walk into the cage at 285-290 pounds. Cain will have to gain a lot of weight to threaten fighters like Lesnar, Frank Mir and Shane Carwin. Size does matter.
Cain is a terrific athlete and there is no one – no one – in the UFC who is in better physical condition. And remember, even though you want to say Couture is not a top-tier fighter, he took Lesnar down while weighing 220 and he was doing very well until he was caught. That was a blueprint for Cain, who is rapidly improving. I stand by my belief that Cain will one day – not necessarily in his next fight – be the UFC heavyweight champion. And I believe that whether he bulks up or not.