Should Dana White get to make the call on Chuck Liddell's retirement?
Dave Meltzer has an interesting column on Yahoo about Chuck Liddell’s retirement saga. Basically, Dana White says you will never see Chuck fight again. Liddell’s trainer is saying that should be Chuck’s decision. I have to think I side with his trainer, John Hackleman, on this.
White claims he doesn’t want to have guys fighting past their prime and getting embarrassed, but Liddell’s losses have been to good fighters. White’s comment that “he’s 40 ... you want me to put him in with a 26-year-old?” makes a lot of sense. MMA is a young man’s game, especially with how the sport is advancing and how versatile younger fighters are these days.
Still, how can White make that argument while he gives a three-fight deal to a 45-year-old Randy Couture? What does Couture have left to prove? He came out of retirement because he saw an opportunity to win the championship in a weak heavyweight division. I’m not saying I don’t want to see Couture fight anymore because I think he still can. But it’s hard to say guys like Couture and Mark Coleman aren’t past their primes.
Chuck Liddell is the biggest star in mixed martial arts history. Shouldn’t he be allowed to go out on his own terms? Shouldn’t he be afforded the luxury of calling it quits? If he still wants to fight and people still want to pay him to fight, I think White should let him.
Obviously, his next contract shouldn’t be as lucrative and he shouldn’t be headlining any pay-per-views, but I think there’s still a role for Chuck Liddell as an active fighter in the UFC. And if not, that should be his call, not White’s.
Still, you have to respect White’s standpoint. When you look at some of the MMA promotions that failed and used quick cash grabs like Kimbo Slice, you know they wouldn’t hesitate to keep putting Liddell in big fights. Liddell is still a big draw; he’s still a moneymaker. It takes guts to retire someone that can still be good for business. Even if you don’t agree with him, you have to respect Dana White for that.