Bellator MMA has been in talks with former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, but a return to active competition seems unlikely at this point.
“The Iceman” recently attracted some attention when he posted a photo on Instagram where he looked arguably more fit than he did during during his championship run in the Octagon. Longtime trainer John Hackleman speculated that if Liddell were to make a comeback, it would have to be for the right matchup.
Shortly thereafter, Bellator President Scott Coker said he would at least be willing to listen to the ex-UFC star. At that point, the California-based promotion had yet to meet with Coker. Now, as Bellator’s big pay-per-view event at Madison Square Garden on June 24 draws near, it appears that both sides have made time to talk.
“We’re talking to Chuck, but mostly about a brand ambassador type of relationship,” Coker said during a conference call on Tuesday. “That’s an ongoing type of discussion and we’ll probably pick it up after New York.”
Liddell served as the UFC’s executive vice president of business development after he retired but was let go by the company as part of a series of layoffs by new owners WME-IMG at the end of 2016. The 47-year-old hasn’t fought since UFC 115 on June 12, 2010, when he suffered a first-round knockout loss to Rich Franklin. Liddell lost five of his last six bouts to end his UFC tenure.
Bellator hasn’t been averse to booking aging stars in the past, including a recent matchup between Chael Sonnen and Tito Ortiz on Jan. 21. Prior to that, a third meeting between Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock headlined Bellator 149 in February 2016.