Reality TV star Steve-O has lauded UFC president Dana White for the way he's treated MMA legend Chuck Liddell. He notably alluded to the fact that White gave Liddell a ceremonial executive position (Vice President of Business Development) in the UFC in 2010.
White did that after urging former UFC light heavyweight champion Liddell to retire out of concern for his friend’s wellbeing. 'The Iceman' worked in an executive role in the UFC till the company’s sale to the Endeavor Group in 2016, following which he was released from the company.
Steve-O recently appeared on Daniel Cormier’s show Multifaceted and recalled that White had also opposed Liddell’s return to MMA in 2018, trying his best to stop ‘The Iceman’ from competing in his late-forties.
Nevertheless, Liddell returned to MMA in 2018, after eight years away, to face Tito Ortiz in a trilogy fight and lost via first-round KO. In 2020, Liddell confirmed that he’d once again retired. Steve-O addressed this and opined that fighting at an older age isn’t ideal:
“I respect the hell out of Dana for trying so hard to stop that [Liddell’s return] from happening. I respect Dana for holding his position that he wanted no part in that, that he hated the idea of Chuck fighting. And I respect Dana for essentially paying Chuck to just not fight. That was Chuck’s only job; was to just not fight. And I respect that.”
Steve-O and Cormier suggested that they also understand Liddell’s perspective, as he’s a fighter at heart and wanted to compete for as long as possible.
Watch Steve-O address the subject at 13:42 of the video below:
Dana White on the immediate aftermath of the UFC’s sale to Endeavor
While the UFC rose to prominence under the ownership of the Fertitta brothers through the early 2000s, they sold the majority of their UFC shares to the Endeavor Group in 2016. In 2021, Endeavor bought the remaining shares as well.
Appearing on the BLOCK Party show, Dana White recently discussed this and recalled that adjusting to the new environment was tough in 2016. Regardless, noting that it all worked out well in the end, White said:
"It was very, very hard on me, you know. I don't know about the Fertittas. I think, you know, I think they definitely miss it now. But, yeah, it was very, very hard on me but I ended up... you know, it all ended up working out really well for me so... I stayed on and I'm still one of the owners and... yeah so not a bad deal."
Watch Dana White's appearance on the BLOCK Party episode below: