Retired boxing superstar Oscar De La Hoya recently revealed plans to launch his own mixed martial arts promotion, Golden Boy MMA.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of those plans is that De La Hoya has targeted former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell as his first big signing. In a recent interview with TMZ Sports, De La Hoya hinted that a third meeting between Liddell and Tito Ortiz could be in the works for Golden Boy MMA.
“We’re finalizing contracts, getting everything rolling,” said De La Hoya. “I’m excited. I’ve been talking to Chuck and Tito. They have a crazy history among both of them. Both guys are beasts. If they want to fight each other, I’m ready.”
Liddell hasn’t competed since June 12, 2010, when he suffered a first-round knockout loss to Rich Franklin at UFC 115. “The Iceman” was one of the UFC’s biggest stars ever during his heyday, but he ended his tenure with brutal knockout losses in four of his last six bouts. UFC President Dana White, a friend of Liddell’s, publicly urged the light heavyweight to retire. Liddell was hired in an executive capacity by the UFC after retirement before being let go when Zuffa sold the company to WME-IMG.
In recent months, both Liddell and Ortiz have teased a third bout. Liddell won the first two meetings, defeating Ortiz via stoppage both at UFC 47 and at UFC 66. If De La Hoya is interested in Liddell in an executive role, White supports the venture. However, if the former boxing star plans on paying Liddell to get back into the cage, White has no interest in seeing it.
“I get it. Everybody sees whats going on, everybody wants a piece, and I hope that’s the case. What I do hope is that he is partnering up with Chuck Liddell and they are going to be partners other than have Chuck Liddell come in and fight,” White said on the "UFC Unfiltered" podcast. “If they are going to partner up in the MMA business, nothing will make me happier. That is awesome and I would love to hear if that is true for Chuck.
If he plans on kicking off his MMA program with Chuck fighting, that would not be good and really, really bum me out. Chuck Liddell is almost 50 years old, he doesn’t need to be fighting.”