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UFC Comes Clean, Admits That It Really Is Liddell vs. Franklin for UFC 115

A few weeks ago this image would have represented nothing more than prevailing internet rumors and some committed fan’s proficiency with Photoshop. But it just so happens that the picture you see here was found in an email sent out by the UFC this afternoon, casually announcing that tickets for UFC 115, featuring a main event bout between Chuck Liddell and Rich Franklin, go on sale this week. No biggie, just a tacit admission that the UFC has been straight-up lying to us for the past several weeks.

Coming as it does just a couple episodes into the new season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” this announcement makes it hard not to have terrible flashbacks to last season, where we were forced to watch “Rampage” Jackson and Rashad Evans jaw endlessly at one another even after we knew the promised payoff bout wouldn’t come. Ortiz and Liddell haven’t even really started to get under one another’s skin, and already we know that it will all amount to nothing.

So what’s the takeaway lesson in all this? Maybe that TUF should be more about the fighters and less about the coaches, since it seems increasingly difficult (especially when you hire two aging greats) to ensure that they’ll actually be able to fight one another after the season ends.

Takeaway lesson #2? When everyone catches on to your plans before you’ve announced them, don’t lie, which Dana White did as recently as last week.

You don’t have to come out and confirm the rumors just because somebody put your business in the streets, but if you know you’re eventually going to end up doing Liddell-Franklin, there’s no reason to willingly destroy whatever credibility you may have had left just to get another couple of weeks out of an imaginary fight.

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FreddyFangers- April 13, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Please explain how Rich Franklin is a has been.
ReX13- April 13, 2010 at 8:38 am
The age at which fighters are no longer viable contenders continues to drop. Previously, fighters were considered either legends or has-beens once they'd reached forty (Randy Couture notwithstanding); now we are seeing the same kind of talk of guys in their late and mid-thirties (Matt Hughes and now Rich Franklin).

Also, despite the fact that i've never been a big Franklin fan, it feels like he's being written off too quickly.

CAP10- April 13, 2010 at 8:15 am
"Legend" is a nice way of saying "Has Been"
cecils_pupils- April 13, 2010 at 8:00 am
UFC 115 is a stacked card:

most notably...

Liddell vs. Franklin
Fitch vs. Alves (highly likely once Alves is medically cleared)
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Pat Barry
Paulo Thiago vs. Martin Kampman
Tyson Griffin vs. Evan Dunham

This card is well worth it, even with a snoozer of a main event.
jimbonics- April 13, 2010 at 7:28 am

Haha! Good spot! This guy blinks too hard and he has a black eye.

Team Franklin FTW.
hyper1- April 13, 2010 at 6:56 am
UPDATE: Both fighters have agreed to the recent rule changes for this main event.

Rule Change #1: Head gear will be worn by both fighters.

Rule Change #2: Rich franklin will not be allowed to use any leg kicks and Chuck Liddell will not be allowed to use any knees.

Rational for rule changes:

1. To ensure the fight goes past the 1st round.
2. Both fighters can't afford another loss *(judges instructed to score the fight a draw if Franklin is winning).
3. Chuckie still believes he's only one fight away from regaining the title * (confirmed by daddy Dana).
agentsmith- April 13, 2010 at 5:40 am
I've said it before and I'll say it again: they should ditch the team concept from TUF entirely. At the end of the day, fighting is not a team sport, and especially not in an elimination tournament where the odds are very good that at least someone will have to fight a teammate. Season 4 was close to this because they had just a staff of impartial trainers and no coaches, but they still had teams.

I say ditch the coaches, ditch the teams, make it officially every man for himself. Tell the fighters: here's a staff of trainers, here's the schedule of training sessions, and you come to whichever ones you want. All you lose is the "drama" between the coaches that's supposed to build interest for their fight after the show, which just robs attention away from the contestants that you're supposedly showcasing anyway.

Or at the very least, quit intentionally trying to set up some big rivalry between the coaches every year. Do we really need the coaches to fight each other?
Mad Jock McMad- April 13, 2010 at 5:24 am
Isn't this another pointless headline fight in the same vein as Couture V Vera, Couture V Coleman, etc.

I love both these guys but they are suffering from 'Been badly knocked out 3 times and now my career is over' syndrome.

Realistically does anyone think they are serious contenders at LHW? Would either of them beat Shogun, Machida, Belfort, Rampage, Jon Jones, etc, etc.

For me this is not one for the history books and just a swansong for legends and a chance to see a fight which otherwise would never happen when these guys were in their prime.

Personally I see Chuck by KO. Franklink looked like glass against Belfort and he seems scared of KO potential...
fatbellyfrank- April 13, 2010 at 2:12 am
Yea I like the idea of using genuine coaches and just let the fighters learn as much as they can. The guys who wound up with Shamrock and Rampage as coaches would have been much better off with a genuine MMA coach.
As for Chuck vs. Ace, just the sound of it makes me excited, but realistically, as a Chuck nuthugger I really don’t want him to fight anymore
Notorious- April 12, 2010 at 11:47 pm
i really like the greg jackson vs mark dela grotte Idea. make it all about the fighters and let the real coaches do the work.

good luck separating the coaches from their camps though.
FreddyFangers- April 12, 2010 at 9:30 pm
@Jesus Tapped

WEC has a show in Edmonton on June 20th. It will air on Versus......

I like the idea of Chuck and Rich fighting if Chuck wasnt desperately needing a win to prove that he has something left in the tank. I agree with most, I dont wanna see either lose, but if Franklin loses he is still safe and can fight on. Regardless, Chuck is probably gonna get KTFO when he drops his hands to throw the superpunch, as usual.
Sho Nuff- April 12, 2010 at 9:20 pm
My guess is that we aren't going to have to watch Tito and Chuck all season for no payoff. We've seen the posters in the training hall with Franklin and Chuck and we know this week there is a big announcement about a cast member change from the previews, where we saw Tito flanking Dana looking grim. I bet it's Tito we'll see leaving and that is why the UFC folks were trying to deny the rumors. They wanted to let the show with the big surprise air and then announce it. But the cat got out of the bag. And by bag, I mean Jenna's enormous vaggg.
Lex Talionis- April 12, 2010 at 8:45 pm
I'd have to agree, I don't really want to see either of these guys lose at this point. However I'm thrilled I don't have to worry about Tito finally pulling off some kind of victory over an older and slower Liddell and then twittering about it for the next decade.
BONGTAR- April 12, 2010 at 8:17 pm
Dana White is a fool. UFC has lost a ton of credibility after Saturday and now the admission we all knew was coming. Better for the fans to watch, but Dana is having a rough few months fosho
DangadaDang- April 12, 2010 at 8:12 pm
This is WAY more interesting than Liddell/Tito 3...and just goes to prove that Tito must be at least half French as judging by this TUF seasons view of Frenchman
dranokills- April 12, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Stash Says:
Tue, 04/13/2010 - 03:29

I don't consider Franklin a "Legend"

Thats cause you obviously don't know any better, and you are stupid to the past, thats ok you can learn....

now with that said I don't like this fight cause I don't want to see either of these guys lose another fight. I am tired of seeing the old fighters who have earned a break from all this shit still fighting each other, fight the young guys IF you can or retire, enough old bring on something new.
Here's what I think would be sweet, and letme sorta spoke to this in a way, but I would like to see Diego and Kenflo as coaches and then have them fight at the end of it. That makes sense and it helps sort out whos a step up, and who step back down.
Start making fights that matter instead of this shit that doesn't matter but puts a really classy older fighter another step down at a bad time, that sucks.
Rxforpain- April 12, 2010 at 7:16 pm
Note to self: When Dana White is lying.. he blinks uncontrollably. It's so obvious in that video.
ohnokono- April 12, 2010 at 7:15 pm
They should just do Greg Jackson vs. Mark Dela Grotte that would make the dopest season of all time because it would actually be real coaches and things like what happened on season 10 with rampage wouldnt happen and then fighters would get the best training possible whatttyathink????
Triangle- April 12, 2010 at 7:10 pm
This fight should be called the ''Aceman''
mthomas- April 12, 2010 at 7:10 pm
Did anyone notice than even in this poster, Rich Franklin has a black eye....
Smitty- April 12, 2010 at 7:06 pm
Funny shit dude.
Machineboi- April 12, 2010 at 6:55 pm
ZZZZZZZZZZ......Ace is a legend now ????? ZZZZZZZZ
Jesus Tapped- April 12, 2010 at 6:51 pm
Does this mean the UFC and WEC are merging?
Harry Nips- April 12, 2010 at 6:45 pm
UFC 115: Looping Punches - Liddell vs. Franklin

This fight is definitely better than Chuck/Tito 3, atleast we're saved from another excuse filled speech by Tito after a loss.
LetMeStickItInYourRua- April 12, 2010 at 6:37 pm
I think they should only use former TUF winners and stand outs as coaches. Griffin, Evans, Diaz, Serra etc etc.