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Dana White Puts Chuck Liddell’s Ass on Notice

(As long as he still has his hearing, he’ll always have a puncher’s chance. Props to AmidaHidan.)

Like Kendall Grove before him, UFC president Dana White has made it clear that Chuck Liddell‘s job might be on the line if he doesn’t step up his game. The Iceman, who has lost three of his last four fights, takes on Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 97 (April 18th, Montreal) and simply winning might not be enough. As White explains to the Telegraph-Journal:

"I’ve made it very clear to Chuck. Very clear. It’s not about money, it’s not about this, that. Chuck is one of my good friends. Chuck (has) cemented his legacy in the UFC and in the fight game. [But] unless he looks incredibly impressive (in Montreal) — I mean, he’s going to have to go out there and dazzle me, for me to want Chuck to still fight…I love him, and I don’t want to see what I saw in his last fight ever again."

We assumed that because of his drawing power and history with the company, Liddell would be able to fight in the UFC for as long as he wanted to. But it sounds like Dana is genuinely concerned for Chuck’s health. His reaction time is slowing, and rival fighters have figured out the increasingly predictable holes in his standup game. That only translates to more brain-rattling KO losses in the future.

Luckily, Mauricio Rua is as good a comeback opponent as any. If Shogun shows up in the kind of piss-poor shape he was in for the Mark Coleman fight in January, Liddell has a great chance of coming out on top, and maybe even "dazzling" his boss with a dramatic knockout. And if that happens, it’ll be interesting to see if Rua is given a similar "win big or get lost" ultimatum for his next fight — or if he’s simply fired on the spot.

The full 12-fight lineup for UFC 97 was confirmed on Friday; you can check it out after the jump.

Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites (for middleweight championship)
Chuck Liddell vs. Mauricio Rua (LHW)
Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Brian Stann (LHW)
Cheick Kongo vs. Antoni Hardonk (HW)
Steve Cantwell vs. Luis Cane (LHW)

Denis Kang vs. Xavier Foupa-Pokam
Eliot Marshall vs. Mike Ciesnolevicz
Nate Quarry vs. Jason MacDonald
David Loiseau vs. Ed Herman
Mark Bocek vs. David Bielkheden
Ryo Chonan vs. TJ Grant
Sam Stout vs. Matt Wiman

Cagepotato Comments

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yuntian- November 13, 2011 at 6:19 pm
speculation that Coach Outlet France could soon senior credit strategist at Bank investors are increasingly concerned
Kimbo's Bread- April 16, 2009 at 7:27 am
@ CB

I fucking agree.
BigBaldJosh- March 18, 2009 at 11:53 am
All and all not a bad card. Every fight has at least one good name or at least one good prospect. Imo Kongo is one of the most impressive fighters is the UFC physically, but he has really yet to impress me in the cage. All the videos I've seen with him training- hes a beast. His fights though, not so much. As for Chuck- yeah no one gets younger- but the reason people love him is because hes exciting- and the price to pay for being a slugger- you will get rocked here and there- so age and wear and tear might be getting him a bit but I dont think hes even close to being Ali if he steps in the cage a few more rounds.
Aussiejosh- March 17, 2009 at 3:13 am
I hope chuck wins an awsome fight by split decision, then hangs up his gloves. Then Rua goes on to make a big come back over the next three or four years and also retiers a champion! see! everyone wins!
Bovice- March 17, 2009 at 12:30 am
Judging from his comment, CB is the real Dana White.
CB- March 16, 2009 at 4:10 pm
What the fuck is wrong with Dana that we have to even see Ed Herman's fucking name on the card? I'd give him money to go the fuck away. I don't give a fuck if you're training hard Ed, go the fuck away. More than that, why do we have to hear about some decent fighter whose ass is on the line when every TUF member ever is on every other undercard or TUF final? If I have to see fucking Clementi or Sell again I'm gonna fucking pop!
Chuck is gay says- March 16, 2009 at 3:17 pm
I hope Shogun wins impresively or he is out of the UFC.
Anonymous- March 16, 2009 at 1:02 pm
well since this isnt '05 i guess you're saying liddell > shogun
nippletwist- March 16, 2009 at 11:00 am
im pumped for kongo, i think very highly of this guy, in the UFC he's in my top 4 HW with lesnar, mir, and carwin.

@ my fight wiffa cheeto

i think you mostly stated the obvious there, but i do like what you said about chuck at middleweight. i would like to see that. i don't think lidell can hang with the best light heavyweights right now. but at middleweight there are a lot of interesting matchups for him. hendo, franklin, bisping, mardquardt, maia.
PurplePickle- March 16, 2009 at 10:30 am
I don't see Liddell at MW and neither does his impacted colon and distended belly. The biggest problem I see with being an aging LHW is that division is the perfect meeting ground for size, power, and speed. Being a bit one dimensional does not help one's cause and advancing age certainly does not either. Most LHWs hit hard as hell and can move like linebackers. Move up in weight? Maybe. Call it quits? Maybe. Move on to a lesser stacked LHW division in another org, that might be it.
Anonymous- March 16, 2009 at 10:12 am
chuck is a good guy, he built the sport. i don't think he's been terrible i nthe past few fights. look at the wanderlei fight.. he was awesome. the reason chuck has been on a losing streak is because he's facing only the best in the 205 division. he obviously isn't the same fighter he was years ago, so i can't blame him
whatsup- March 16, 2009 at 10:01 am
Forget dazzling the bald guy, I would like to see him kick his ass.
Danny F- March 16, 2009 at 10:00 am
M@TT- March 16, 2009 at 9:55 am
Sam Stout!?!

I thought that guy died or retired or something
Ample- March 16, 2009 at 9:43 am
All yall need to shut the fuck up about Chuck Lidell and pay attention to what really matters on this card.

Steve Cantwell is fighthing!!! The fuckin Robot!

You dudes remember this guy onUFC FIGHT NIGHT "fight for the troops"!? This dude has surgical hands with amazing jui jitsu. He beat that black dude Al Razak by punching his face in on foot then benidng the dudes arm 180 degrees in the wrong way. Oh and he's all of what..21, or 22? Fuckin mad man this guy is.

Steve Cantwell vs Luis Cane = pure awsomness

Fuck a Chuck vs Shogun...they can both beat each others balls like a pinyata ayiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiy
manutdfan- March 16, 2009 at 9:15 am
"My Fight Wiffa Cheeto"- 'Foppish Jab' is the funniest phrase I've heard all day. Thank you.
CanadianProduce- March 16, 2009 at 9:14 am
@ My Fight Wiffa Cheeto

Can you go ahead and paraphrase all that. I'm at work and don't have time to peruse 8 paragraphs of blah blah blah. It's for the common good. Thanks
Big Johnson- March 16, 2009 at 9:13 am
Wow, you have too much time on your hands to write that much, but you have good points. In addition to that, the average IQ of a Cage Potato reader is 5 so I doubt many even understand what you wrote.
Randy Couture- March 16, 2009 at 9:11 am
Chuck is Ken Shamrock in training.
Half Amazing- March 16, 2009 at 9:09 am
Hopefully Shogun returns to form and puts Chuck out of his misery. Also lol at Kang fighting on the undercard, I still do not see why people like him.
k- March 16, 2009 at 8:48 am
Chuck has more UFC wins than any other fighter.
My Fight Wiffa Cheeto- March 16, 2009 at 8:37 am
I don't think the fight game can get to the point where it will only just be UFC. While we can all agree that it is the Major Leagues of the sport, fighting is a sport where you need to have the minors feed into the majors. Take Strikeforce for an example, Dana never really sought out to crush them because they aren't overstepping their boundries in regards to trying to be the top dog of MMA. While it sucks to say that UFC has some sort of boundries of what it will put up with, I suppose it's necessary.

Strikeforce isn't going to fizzle out anytime soon, I hope at least. The reason Dana & Co. bought up PRIDE is because at the time, PRIDE had some of the greatest fighters in the world (even if we've come to realize they were all on gear at some point). Dana wanted those big names to cement UFC's roster. The reason Dana hated and made a point and example out of EliteXC was because of the Shaw's promotional tactics. Their huffing and puffing and shady business practices pissed off Dana and eventually sank the promotion all together. I mean they brought in some new fans by marking hard on ol' "I love the city of Japan" Kevin Ferguson and hopefully some of those fans became educated on the sport and are still around after realizing their douche of a hero, Mr. Slice, while "Street Certified" he wasn't exactly "MMA Certified."

Strikeforce has a long way to go before it promotes PPV's. The only place I see them threatening UFC or even have them by the balls a lil bit is with their place on NBC/CBS and with Premium Showtime.

UFC was to work a deal out with HBO, which would be huge, just UFC isn't going to give up their rights to programming that easily. Spike has done them well enough for now. They don't need old time TV execs telling them what they can and can't do.

Can you actually see Dana bowing down to some network dude? The only people he would do that to have the last name Fertitta.

As for Chuck in Strikeforce, I can't see how it hurts UFC as a whole that much. They lose one of the most recognizable stars in MMA in the twilight of his career. They can't put on a PPV with just Chuck and no one awesome for him to fight. Unless they put him against Mr. Ferguson just for the draw. Where if you though Seth "I swear I'm not Gay" Petruzelli's foppish jab knocked Kevin silly, what do you think a Chuck Overhand right would do?

Where and who does Chuck have to fight in UFC now? Stay at LHW? Most of the LHW's that are title threats would murder him, yes he always has a puncher's chance as do all fighters, but where has his development been over the years? NOWHERE. He's swimming with sharks. He drops to MW like Wandy? Then he has a war with Wandy again... I can see him fighting Hendo, two LEGENDS! Rich Franklin. He could beat up Bisping (which would make me happy). He could sprawl like balls so Maia wouldn't make him tap somehow, Marquart, and of course... Superfight with Anderson Silva.

I was gonna say there is nothing for him at Middleweight but actually... I think that would be best for him. He'd be a big ass middleweight. Now he's just gotta put down the beers.
Truth2Pwr- March 16, 2009 at 8:26 am
Sorry ass excuse for a fight card. Doesn't mean that we won't see some great fights come out of it, but basically this is the type of card that Dana likes to rail against boxing promoters for putting on. One good main event larded with a bunch of up and comers and has beens.

If Joe Silva is gonna keep pitting formerly dominant but rapidly fading punching bags like Liddel vs Rua, Coleman vs Rua, Liddel vs Vanderlei, Hughes vs Serra, etc. then he should just turn UFC 100 into a big steel cage ladder match for all the OGs who want to enter and then just keep the one dude who makes it out and bid all the rest a fond farewell as they limp off into the sunset. Much respect to these warriors, but Dana is right. It was a privelege to watch them in their prime, but now all I keep thinking is that I don't want to see my MMA heroes winding up like Mohammed Ali.
Jonny5- March 16, 2009 at 8:18 am
Ok Ok not as interesting but still interested in Liddell vs. Matyushenko.
Jonny5- March 16, 2009 at 8:15 am
Gotta agree with the previous posters who talk about Chuck getting picked up by another Org. and still figting if dropped by Dana. I mean how can you drop a guy whos coming into a fight ranked fifth in the world in his division? You know he's still one of the most popular fighters with the general public and would be a major draw to any organization that would pick him up. Although exciting fights for Chuck outside the UFC is very limited. The only fight I think I would like to see would be an Affliction bout between Chuck and Lil'Nog. What does the rest of Potato Nation think of that matchup?