Photo by Sherdog.com
Former UFC light heavyweight champions Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz have been tapped as rival coaches for the eleventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter” on Spike TV, the promotion announced on Saturday.
Ortiz and Liddell will coach opposing teams comprised of middleweight hopefuls, then meet in a rubber match at the conclusion of TUF 11. Liddell has won both of the previous encounters, earning a second-round knockout against Ortiz at UFC 47 in April 2004 and a third-round technical knockout at UFC 66 in December 2006.
Following an 18-month absence, Ortiz, 34, lost a close split decision to Forrest Griffin at UFC 106 on Nov. 21 in Las Vegas.
Liddell, 39, has been knocked out in his last two appearances in the Octagon, leading UFC President Dana White to announce the fighter’s retirement for him following his April loss to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. In the interim, Liddell starred on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”
“At the end of the day, I’m not his dad,” said White of Liddell’s return. “The guy’s a legend in the sport. He’s beat the who’s who of mixed martial arts here and in the Pride organization. To tell him he can’t have one more shot is tough to do.”
Both have appeared on the reality show during past seasons. Liddell coached the first season of series opposite Randy Couture in early 2005. Ortiz was the season three coach opposite Ken Shamrock in mid 2006.
TUF 11 will shoot in Las Vegas in early 2010 and debut on Spike TV beginning on March 31.