The career of the greatest light heavyweight in UFC history has come to a close, as former UFC champion Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell’s retirement was announced Wednesday at the UFC 125 press conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I want to thank Frank (Fertitta), Lorenzo (Fertitta), and Dana (White) for everything they’ve done for me over the years, and the sport. Most of all I want to thank my fans and my family,” said an emotional Liddell. “I love the sport and I’m excited to go into a new stage in my life and keep promoting the best sport in the world, the sport I love.”
That new stage will begin immediately, as UFC President Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta have brought Liddell aboard as the organization’s Executive Vice President of Business Development.
According to Fertitta, Liddell’s duties will include work on fighter relations and government regulation, but he will mainly focus on new business development for the UFC, an organization he has fought for since 1998.
Over those last 12 years, Liddell was a feared striker who ruled the 205-pound weight class with an iron right hand, and in doing so became mixed martial arts’ first crossover superstar. During his reign of terror over the UFC’s light heavyweight division from 2004 to 2007, he compiled a seven fight unbeaten streak that included knockout wins over world champions Randy Couture (twice) and Tito Ortiz (twice), as well as respected contenders like Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Jeremy Horn.
A world champion from April of 2005 to May of 2007, Liddell was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in July of 2009.
“He’s been more than a friend, more than a fighter, and more than a champion,” said White. “This is a big deal for us.”