Chuck Liddell: Transitioning from ‘Iceman’ to Actor

Heading into his trilogy fight with Tito Ortiz in November of 2018, Ultimate Fighting Championship hall-of-famer Chuck Liddell’s body was sending him warning signs. The long-time martial artist and fighter ignored the signals, and competed anyway, despite his compromised position.

“Right after the fight, I had my neck fused from the C3 to C4 [column],” Liddell told Sherdog. “I didn’t really know that I had a problem. I was that pig-headed. I was getting [a procedure] done on my shoulders down in Columbia. They did a great job; my shoulders feel great. My neck was sore, so I said hey, can you check my neck. They [said], ‘well, we’ve got to do an MRI before we do [anything else].’ The guys [there] said, ‘when you get home, have someone look at this MRI.’ I was like ah, and blew it off. Then one day, my wife goes, ‘hey are you OK? You’ve been kind of clumsy lately.’ I’m like, no I’m fine. She [suggested] maybe going to talk to the doctor. So I got the MRI, went in, and [the doctor] goes, ‘so, you’re having some problems with balance and coordination, right?’ I go, no I’m fine. ‘Really? Go stand on the other side of the room and walk to me [touching] heel to toe.’ I couldn’t do it. And then I stood on one foot, [spread out my arms] and touched my nose with my eyes closed, and as soon as I closed my eyes I fell over. Before the fight, they showed up at my house for a drug test. They also had me do all these neuro tests. One thing they had me do is stand on one foot, close my eyes and touch my nose. I fell over the first time I did it. So, [the next time] I just kept my eyes open a little bit and did it. I just figured I was tired. I didn’t know it meant anything.”

In his conversation with Sherdog, Liddell spoke further about his third bout with Ortiz, the result and his disappointment with the marketing push from Golden Boy Promotions. He also talked about the ESPN 30-for-30 documentary on his long-running feud with “The Huntington Beach Badboy,” and the hatred UFC President Dana White still holds for the Mexican-American fighter. Liddell also gave his thoughts on the rise of bare-knuckle fighting promotions, his opinion on the UFC attempting to put on events during a global pandemic and his role in upcoming FITE network film Cagefighter: Worlds Collide.

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