Liddell's status and CompuStrike
In my UFC 76 recap yesterday, I stated that I felt that Chuck Liddell was no longer main event-worthy. However, I also thought he would continue to fight and attempt a comeback. That may not be the case, according to Dana White in an interview with Yahoo Sports. White told Kevin Iole that he wouldn't be surprised if Liddell retired from the sport. Here's more of what White said in that interview:
"There's a hunger thing that you have to have to be an elite fighter and I just didn't see a Chuck Liddell who was as hungry as he used to be," White said Sunday. "Chuck has made a lot of money in this business and he's done a lot of things, but he wasn't the Chuck of old.
"Chuck was never a guy who fought for money; he fought because he loved to fight. He'd just as soon go out and fight in the back yard for free as fight before 20,000 people on a card he was making a ton of money because he just loved to fight."
However, today Liddell's trainer John Hackleman came out and told FightNetwork.com that Liddell has no plans to retire:
“He’s already said he’ll be back in the gym next Monday,” said Hackleman, who has coached Liddell for 16 years. “He’s going to fight again, hopefully as soon as possible, maybe in December. We’re looking at ‘Shogun.’”
So, there we have it. UFC's own version of the Brett Favre saga. I'll be very interested to see how this plays out.
Regardless of what Liddell does in the future, his place in this promotion's annals and his place in the history of the sport are secure. For two years he was the most feared striker in UFC and he was the face of the promotion as it exploded onto the mainstream stage.
One thing a number of readers said after the Hamill-Bisping fallout is that they felt there was some sort of UFC conspiracy involved. I'll never censor my readers' comments but I hope you realize that I have seen absolutely no evidence of such a plot. After all, Mirko Cro Cop lost a close decision on the same card and two weeks later, Liddell lost a close decision as well. Clearly, if there was some sort of evil scheme at work, I think having Cro Cop and Liddell come out victorious would be part of it.
Instead, I think what we see every once in a while is poor judging and a scoring system that is simply not sufficient for MMA.
Dana White (in the same Yahoo Sports interview cited above) also said the following about how UFC would cope if Liddell did retire:
"At the end of the day, we have so many talented fighters in the UFC that we'll be fine," White said. "We're not a one-trick pony, that's for sure. Chuck is always going to be a part of the UFC, whether he's fighting or not, but we're definitely not going to be in any kind of trouble if he quits."
What's great about this comment is that it taps into the essence of what I believe will make UFC successful -- the notion that no fighter is bigger than the league. I applaud White for making this comment, even at the expense of his good friend Liddell, because it shows that White understands one of the failures in the sport of boxing and that he also understands why the NFL is the most successful sports league in America. This comment should also assuage any fears that White is pulling strings in favor of any one fighter. In fact, he believes the promotion can survive the victory or defeat of any of its fighters.
Back to MMA scoring for a second. CompuStrike made its debut at UFC 76. Brought to us by the folks who came up with CompuBox for boxing, CompuStrike is a systematic scoring system that keeps track of strikes (arm, leg, and ground), takedowns, and submission attempts.
I asked Bob Canobbio, President of CompuBox Inc., some questions about how CompuStrike was administered at UFC 76. Here is Canobbio's response:
"CompuStrike has two operators seated octagon-side, sharing a laptop computer. They count one fighter each. We have designated keys for arm (punch/elbow) and leg (kicks & knees) strikes landed- from standing and ground positions. These categories produce a total strikes stat. We also count submission attempts & takedowns."
Those of you who have read my previous entries know that I am a fan of making MMA scoring more systematic. I have to say that from what I have seen, Canobbio and his company have taken a major step in the right direction with their system.
For more on CompuStrike's statistics from UFC 76, click here.