Liddell-Franklin Slated; White Issues Denial

By Loretta Hunt Mar 13, 2010
Former UFC champions Chuck Liddell and Rich Franklin have verbally agreed to meet in a light heavyweight tilt in June, has learned from multiple sources. UFC 115, though not officially announced, has been tentatively scheduled for June 12 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Liddell, 40, just completed a six-week taping in Las Vegas for Season 11 of Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter,” which debuts on March 31. Liddell and longtime nemesis Tito Ortiz served as opposing coaches on the show and were originally expected to meet for a third time at UFC 115. It remains unclear what will become of that proposed bout.

A message posted late Saturday on UFC President Dana White's Twitter account denied that the bout was slated. "We are doing couture vs franklin not chuck," read the post. re-affirmed with its sources that the Liddell-Franklin bout is still in play.

A UFC hall of famer, Liddell last competed in April, when he succumbed to first-round strikes from 2005 Pride Fighting Championships middleweight grand prix winner Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Urged to retire by UFC President Dana White, Liddell instead took a spot on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” hinting all the while that he intended to return to the cage. He has lost four of his last five fights but carries with him one of the sport’s most impressive resumes, including a pair of wins over both Ortiz and fellow hall of famer Randy Couture.

The 35-year-old Franklin has not fought since his technical knockout loss to Vitor Belfort at UFC 103 six months ago. He had been linked to a potential matchup with Couture at UFC 115. Franklin holds notable victories over Brazilian legend Wanderlei Silva, the world-ranked Yushin Okami and the late Evan Tanner.

Item updated at 7:35 p.m. ET with a quote from Dana White's Twitter.
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