Chuck Liddell: Jeff Sherwood | Sherdog.com
Chuck Liddell officially retired from mixed martial arts on Wednesday, but the former UFC light heavyweight champion will remain with the company he helped turn into the world’s biggest MMA promotion.
UFC president Dana White announced Liddell’s retirement at the UFC 125 pre-fight press conference in Las Vegas. White revealed that the 41-year-old “Iceman” will be joining the ranks of the UFC brass as the company’s new executive vice president of business development.
“He’s on level and on par with all the top executives. There’s about five or six of us, and Chuck Liddell is now one of them,” White said.
“Chuck will be involved in many different things as vice president of business development,” added UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta. “He’ll be working on not only the obvious regulatory issues, fighter relations, but mainly new business development. We continue to grow here in North America, with the U.S. and Canada, but we’ve got so many more things to do around the world.”
A visibly emotional Liddell took the podium for a brief statement, thanking the UFC, his fans and family for their support.
“I love this sport and I’m excited going into a new stage in my life, to keep promoting the best sport in the world and the sport I love,” said Liddell, who graduated from California Polytechnic State University in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting. “[The UFC is] giving me the opportunity again to keep promoting and keep doing stuff now that I’m retired.”
Liddell leaves MMA with a record of 21-8, and a legacy as one of the sport’s all-time biggest stars and most devastating knockout artists.
After joining the UFC in 1998 and winning eight of his first 10 bouts for the promotion, Liddell became champion in 2005 with a knockout of Randy Couture. From 2005 to 2007, he ruled the UFC’s 205-pound division, racking up wins over Renato Sobral, Jeremy Horn and Tito Ortiz, twice.
The Iceman’s reign ended in 2007, when he lost his title to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Liddell would be knocked out in the final three bouts of his career -- against Rashad Evans, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and this past June, Rich Franklin -- prompting White to publicly voice his desire for Liddell to retire from active competition.