Published Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010 | 1:36 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010 | 1:49 p.m.
Chuck Liddell’s claim as of one mixed martial art’s legendary fighters is undeniable.
Liddell used his aggressive style of fighting and powerful punches to gain the reputation as one of the UFC’s all-time most respected fighters. Eight of his 21 victories came via knockout, helping earn him the moniker, “Iceman.”
But age had gotten the best of the 41-year-old in recent years, as he was defeated in five of his last six fights — including three by knockout, the most recent a first-round defeat in June to Rich Franklin.
After months of indecision and speculation about the next step in his career, the former lightweight champion seems to have found the perfect fit.
Liddell on Wednesday retired from fighting and was introduced as the UFC’s Vice President of Business Development during a press conference at the MGM Grand to promote UFC 125.
The trials and tribulations of Liddell’s lengthy career, which dates back to the late 1990s, give him plenty of knowledge for the new endeavor. While walking away from fighting was tough — he had tears in his eyes when he addressed the media — staying active in the sport is a welcome alternative.
Liddell was emotional when addressing the press conference, which was open to the public in the MGM Grand lobby. His love for the sport was obvious.
“I’m excited to go into a new stage of my life and continue promoting the best sport in the world,” Liddell said.
Liddell, who finished with a 21-8 overall record, was more than a fighter — he is recognized worldwide as a celebrity. He appeared on the cover of ESPN The Magazine, and this year also was a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars”.
Simply put, he’s help taken mixed martial arts to another level — something several feel he’ll continue to do.
CORRECTION: This story originally reported that UFC executive Lorenzo Fertitta had retired, but his position with the UFC hasn't changed. | (December 29, 2010)