The Chuck Liddell saga continues. UFC president Dana White "retired him" immediately after his loss to Mauricio Rua at UFC 97.
White: I said Chuck's done.
Cagewriter: Did he say that?
White: No, and it's not that he's not going to fight anymore for the UFC, he's not going to fight anymore period.
Cagewriter: He's just lost to three of the top five guys in the world. He clearly can make money fighting other people. It's kind of tough to tell a guy who can make $500,000, if it's not with you then a company in Japan or someone here who is trying to compete with you, you know what, you can't do it.
White: Yup. That's the way it is. He can't fight again. He's gonna be 40 years old. He's made a lot of money. He's been the champion. He's proved everything he needs to prove to everybody. There's no need for him to fight anymore. He's a big name we could sell out arenas, sell pay-per-views with him but I don't want to see it.
White has slowly backed off the Liddell retirement demand over the last 10 weeks. Appearing on The Cofield and Cokin Show on ESPNRadio1100, White said he's sitting down with Liddell this week. When asked if Liddell was returning to fight Rich Franklin in September at UFC 103, White chuckled and refused to answer.
In other fighter contract/acquisition news, White hinted that the door is still open for Cro Cop (1:50 mark). There was also an odd exchange where White said he had no interest in Vitor Belfort (2:11 mark). Why odd? Because White went on Spike during The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale and spoke about Belfort. In this conversation, he denied having ever expressed interest in the former UFC fighter, who is currently under contract with Affliction. Belfort is scheduled to fight on August 1.
White also confirmed that the UFC is working on Roger Huerta versus Gray Maynard at Ultimate Fight Night 19 in Oklahoma City on Sept. 16 (2:52 mark).
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