Despite getting clobbered by Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in the first round of his UFC light heavyweight title fight Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Chuck Liddell said his late-night partying had no part in his loss.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Monday that Liddell had been partying into the wee hours starting the Sunday before the fight. Then, on Tuesday, mixed martial artist Frank Trigg said in an interview with Las Vegas radio station KENO-AM that he had been out late one night with Liddell, but that Liddell had not been consuming alcohol.
On Thursday, Liddell admitted in a story in the Los Angeles Times that the reports were true, but said he did the same thing before his win over Tito Ortiz in December.
"It's nothing that I've never done before; it was just like any other fight," Liddell told the Times. "I just go and hang out. I don't drink. I just kill time, hang out with friends at whatever club they're at. I've been doing that as long as I've fought in Vegas."
Several fans, though, question the kind of shape Liddell was in, noting a paunch around his midsection.
SHAW NOT WORRIED
The MMA card set for Saturday at the Los Angeles Coliseum will go on as scheduled, on both Showtime and on pay-per-view, despite a series of problems.
Promoters have asked the California Athletic Commission for permission to give away 70,000 tickets, though Gary Shaw, the president of Elite XC, which is promoting the Showtime portion of the card, said he is unaware of that.
Hong Man Choi, the 7-foot-2 South Korean who was going to fight former WWE star Brock Lesnar in the main event, was denied a license for medical reasons. Choi was replaced by Min Soo Kim.
Gina Carano, a woman's star who was to have fought on the Showtime card, had to pull out because of illness.
Antonio Silva, also on the Showtime part of the card, was denied a license for medical reasons.
The California commission won't disclose reasons for license denials as part of its policy, executive officer Armando Garcia said. Shaw said, "I'm the president of a public company and I don't talk about medical issues."
NO MONEY TALK
UFC president Dana White hates to talk about money and even less about his business. Because Zuffa is a private company, he doesn't have to release pay-per-view figures and he never has done so.
He also won't discuss fighter salaries, at the fighters' request, he said. He said his fighters "are more successful (financially) when we're more successful" and said the top fighters generally make significantly more than is reported on their state athletic commission contracts.
For UFC 71, Rampage Jackson was paid a $225,000 guarantee and received a $225,000 win bonus. Liddell made $500,000 and would have made another $500,000 had he won.
"Money and talking about money kills sports," White said. "I hate that. I hate it. I won't talk about it, now or ever. My guys ask me not to, you know that? Whenever a number is printed about what they're making, do you know how many scumbags and 40th cousins twice removed come out of the woodwork and beg them for money?
"Sports should be about the sports, not the money. And I'm never going to talk about it."
TWO MORE STATES
The legislatures in Tennessee and Nebraska voted last week to allow sanctioned MMA bouts in their states and the governors signed the bills, making them the 20th and 21st states where the sport is regulated in the U.S.
It also is also sanctioned in Washington, D.C., and on two American Indian reservations in Connecticut.
UFC vice president Marc Ratner, the former executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, said his goal is to have it sanctioned and regulated in all 50 states.
"This is a legitimate sport and even though there are states where we'll probably never have an event, it's important for the sport that it be legal and properly regulated everywhere," Ratner said. "When you think of a football game, you don't wonder whether football is legal in a certain state or not. We're trying for the same thing in MMA."
Though there are plenty of MMA fights in Hawaii, the sport is not regulated by the state. White said he is hopeful that will change and suggested the UFC would consider an outdoor fight at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu were the state to do so.
- Chuck Liddell