April 14 (UPI) — Chuck Liddell spoke to UPI about the state of the UFC and his new role as an ambassador for Karate Combat, a full-contact karate league.
“The Iceman” posted a 21-8-0 record during his Hall of Fame career. His last UFC fight went down in 2010 at UFC 115.
“It’s an exciting striking style,” Liddell said Thursday of Karate Combat. “I think, for a lot of the guys, it’s another way to get prepared for an MMA fight too.”
Karate Combat will air its first live event, Karate Combat: Inception, on April 26 in Miami Beach. The fighting features rules developed by martial arts experts and top fighters and takes place in the Karate Combat Fighting Pit, which is designed for continuous action. After the Miami Beach bout, Karate Combat will have settings around the globe, including in Dubai, Athens, Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Tokyo. The company held Karate Combat: Genesis, its private preseason event, this February in Budapest, Hungary.
Viewers can tune in to watch the Genesis bouts, highlights and recaps at Karate.com.
“It’s something that a lot more people can get involved in,” Liddell said. “I love going to the tournaments and this is a full-contact version of it, which is awesome.”
Karate Combat is the first professional league to display biometric, nutrition, training, and DNA-based data in real-time, which it will do on a heads-up display for fans. The fighting also features multi-camera cinematic angles and musical scores.
More than 100 of the top Karate fighters in the world have signed up for the league, including American Elhadji Ndour, Moroccan Achraf Ouchen, Dionicio Gustavo of the Dominican Republic, Frenchman Davy Dona, George Tzanos of Greece and Rafeal Aghayev of Azerbaijan. Aghayev is arguably the greatest living master of the sport and the most decorated fighter alive. He is a front-runner at the 2020 Olympic Games.
A “Notorious” comeback?
Liddell doesn’t see Ronda Rousey returning to UFC anytime in the near future, but he does believe there is still a spot for Conor McGregor. While the UFC legend admittedly doesn’t know McGregor very well, he is a fan of the Irishman.
The first time the two former titleholders met, McGregor told Liddell that he was the reason he started fighting.
“I think he will be allowed to fight again … that’s not the way I want to see it end, anyway,” Liddell said.
McGregor recently posted bail on three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief after turning himself in at a Brooklyn police department. The charges followed an erratic episode for McGregor, when he was seen throwing items at a bus carrying another UFC fighter, breaking a window of the bus and causing a minor injury to at least one passenger in a loading area at Barclays Center. He has a hearing on June 14.
“Someone should have gotten a hold of him,” Liddell said. “Not to let him get out there and lose his mind.”
McGregor hasn’t fought in UFC since Nov. 2016. He lost to Floyd Mayweather in a boxing superbout on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.