As a long-time boxing enthusiast, I’m well aware of the ugly side of the sport. Mainly what happens to the guys who stick around a little too long. Brain damage, impaired speech…that kind of thing.
One of the worst examples of this is what has become of former Olympic Gold Medalist and welterweight champion, Meldrick Taylor. Take a look at the following clip courtesy of HBO Sports’ “Legendary Nights” series (fast forward to 4:42 of the clip):
Since MMA is fairly new to the sports scene (especially compared to boxing) we have yet to witness such effects on the sports’ top stars. However, that might be changing sooner rather than later.
I recently came across a startling interview featuring Chuck Liddell on “Last Call with Carson Daly” from 2004. Listen closely to how he sounds:
So, what’s so special about that? He sounds normal, right? Right. Now, take a listen to this recent interview with the UK’s “Daily Telegraph”:
Chuck Liddell talks UFC 85 and his legendary exploits outside the cage
Joey Sports Fan: Yo, Chuck, what do you think about Shogun’s injury?
Chuck Liddell: It’s sucks man…Really sucks.
Joey Sports Fan: Yeah.
Chuck Liddell: Ya.
Joey Sports Fan: You know what? You should go to this cool-ass site called JarryPark.com and talk about having no opponent for UFC 85 and who you want to fight next.
Chuck Liddell: What’s JarryPark.com?
Joey Sports Fan: Well, it’s this…
Chuck Liddell: Just kidding. I know what it is. Duh. I go there everyday to hear all their great interviews. Great idea! I’ll call that Canadian dude who runs the site and we’ll talk a little Shogun, my future and other MMA news like the CBS/Elite XC deal.
Joey Sports Fan: Awesome! You should also talk about all your exploits outside the Octagon – if you know what I mean. I hear you’re the next Wilt Chamberlain.
Chuck Liddell: Ha. Not quite but another great idea! I’ll talk about the time I had sex four hours before a fight and the time I did an interview while actually doing it!
Joey Sports Fan: Really? That’s amazing!
Chuck Liddell: Yup, but for all the juicy info you’ll have to check out the interview…gotta run.
Chuck Liddell – 03/04/08
(P.S. That convo never happened but I sort of dreamed it would all go down like that at some point. I called him – he certainly didn’t call me – but, still, a really fun interview.)
For the next couple of weeks, JarryPark.com will countdown the 15 most memorable combat sports moments of 2007. Some will be positive while others will be negative. Some will have happened in a ring or cage while others on the outside. Every day, we’ll feature a single moment as we bid adieu to ‘07. As we present each moment, feel free to agree or disagree with any of our selections in the comments section below.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering why we chose fifteen the answer is quite simple: You take the “7″ from ‘07 and the “8″ from ‘08, add them together and you get 15. Duh.To see the rest of the countdown click here.
#8: Rampage Cometh
What: Quentin “Rampage” Jackson knocks out Chuck Liddell and captures the UFC Light Heavyweight title
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV
When: May 26, 2007
Just a few days before UFC 79, it’s interesting to look back on the night Quentin Jackson knocked out the once-dominant Chuck Liddell for several reasons. Liddell hasn’t won since that fight (he lost another bout to Keith Jardine at UFC 76) but is looking to get back in the win column this Saturday night against Wanderlei Silva. A loss to the Axe Murderer would finally cement the fact that 2007 will forever be known as the year the Iceman melted.
The first time these two Light Heavyweights met was at Pride Final Conflict 2003 in the Tokyo Dome. Rampage dominated Liddell then and did the same in May. While their first bout ended at 3:15 in round 2, Jackson only needed a quick minute and 53 seconds to dispose the UFC’s golden boy. Some (including myself) predicted a Rampage victory but no one really thought it would end that quickly and, most importantly, no one believed the loss would change Liddell’s career forever. Five months later, Liddell enters the cage on Saturday desperately seeking a victory while Rampage gets ready to be a coach on TUF 7 and to officially become the most popular fighter in the world. A year ago the UFC quietly purchased Jackson’s contract from the WFA. Now, with Couture gone, Liddell slipping and Hughes’ impending retirement they look to Rampage to lead the way come 2008. Stay tuned.
Somewhere Vince McMahon must be smiling. First, Randy Couture announces he’ll be holding a press conference to discuss his resignation from the UFC. A couple of days later, coincidentally or not, the UFC decides to hold a press conference to announce their new TV deal with Spike beginning 30 minutes prior to Couture’s. Never a boring day in the world of MMA. Some of the main points discussed were:
The UFC has signed a new deal with Spike TV that runs through 2011. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Their current deal expires in 2008 meaning this new one will run for three-year. There will be at least four more seasons of The Ultimate Fighter and twelve Ultimate Fights Nights (four per year from ’09-’11). Also, a brand new “fight series” will be launching in 2010. No more details of this new fight series were made available.
UFC president Dana White said he did not schedule this press conference at the same time as Couture’s press conference. He claims it was simply a coincidence.
White said he has yet to speak to Couture and is waiting for Couture to call him back. However, in his press conference, Couture said he spoke to White and Lorenzo Fertita yesterday. Hmmm.
When asked about Fedor Emelianenko signing with M-1, White said that he was disappointed they couldn’t agree on a deal but that in all his dealings with Fedor’s management not once did they ever talk about Fedor. “It was always about his managers.” He also said “Fedor sucks. He’s not even in the top 5.” He also called Fedor’s agent, Vadim Finklestein, “a fucking liar.”
The deal with HBO is dead. The UFC is looking elsewhere. The reason they love Spike TV so much is because they have never tied them down. Spike allows them to look for partners, as well. HBO wasn’t as flexible.
Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva and Brock Lesnar were also on the call.
Liddell never really thought about retiring after the Jardine loss and is not concerned with his last two losses. He thinks that a win over Silva will propel him back into the title picture.
White said that the winner of Silva-Liddell will definitely be considered a number one contender.
White said that the UFC is dying to come to Canada. A Montrealer can only hope…
Take a listen to the UFC press conference. White is asked to address the Couture situation right off the bat.