Chuck Liddell finally announced his retirement at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in front of his fans, friends, media and family. It wasn’t an untimely decision; it was something on everybody’s mind since UFC 97 when Shogun Rua dominated him in a brutal and swift knockout in the first round.
At 41 years old with legendary fights against Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture, Chuck has been the face of the sport for such a long time. He helped carry the sport to what it is now, building every pillar with his fist and fighting heart.
He has given his share of blood and sweat in the octagon: the irreplaceable canvas that holds the common ground of all the warriors who fought in the UFC.
He still wanted to fight. It was never a problem. The constant challenges always get him hooked and hang as much as he can and forgo his retirement.
But when his granite chin slowly betrayed him, there were a number of people calling for his retirement, including the UFC president and Liddell’s close friend, Dana White.
“I would liked to have gone out on a winning streak, but I don’t think I would have left if I had been winning,” Chuck said. “I would have wanted to fight one more time to get a win, and if I won then, I would have just wanted to fight again. It’s one of those things.”
Real fighters don’t quit and if they go down, they go down fighting and Chuck is a fighter in every sense. Even if everybody urged him to quit, it was never the way he imagined his career to end.
Chuck finally tapped out on fighting, but he never tapped out on life. His life is his family now, new challenges and new battles to begin.
The healed scars around Liddell’s face is a testament to his legendary career. The battles won and the battles lost, in the end he conquered. He won the many hearts of men and women.
A fighter who dedicated his life to the sport is always a winner.
Now Chuck belongs to the history books. A fighter who fought to the end… and the face of the sport who will be forever be remembered.