Morning Report: John Hackleman says he tried and failed to change Chuck Liddell's fighting style towards the end of his UFC career

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Making an appearance on UFC commentator Joe Rogan's podcast, famed MMA trainer John Hackleman spoke at length on his prized former pupil, UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell. Rather than wax poetic on many of Liddell's numerous accolades, Hackleman goes into gritty detail as troubles began to mount for the former champion in the twilight of his career. After years of watching Liddell succeed with his 'stand and bang' style, Hackleman says he pleaded with him to adjust, to no avail.

"Towards the end of his career I begged him not to so much and he still wouldn't," says Hackleman. "He would not stop bangin'. He banged 'till the end. He couldn't help it. We would spend hours and hours and hours [on it]. We put the little thing down between his chin and his shoulders to keep his chin down. To keep his hands up, I'd put weights in his hands, stuff under his arms. Hours and hours and he would drill it, drill it, drill it. The second he hit someone and just saw that little spark in the eye, that killer instinct would take over and he'd drop his hands to his hips, put his chin up in the air and just start swinging for the knockout. He'd forget everything.

"When his chin wasn't quite what it was? He didn't want to change his style. We didn't want to turn into a more cerebral game. He wanted to go out a banger and he did."

Although the narrative states UFC president Dana White ultimately forced Liddell into retirement, Hackleman says White was less involved in the final decision than he would have you believe.

"Chuck, towards the end of his career, we decided when he was going to retire. There was a little controversy on that with the Dana White thing. All of us, including Dana, had a couple interactions. He loves Chuck like I do. He always wanted the best for Chuck, like I did. We were coming from different angles. I was the trainer and he was the promoter, but we both loved Chuck and wanted the best for him.

[Dana] was looking out for [Chuck's] best [interest]. What people don't realize, including Dana, was that I wanted Chuck to retire from before he even started. I didn't want him to fight at all. Now he's fighting. He loves fighting and it's his passion. [Chuck's] gonna say when he's gonna quit. I saw him get hurt really bad with Rich Franklin. Right then it was done. Right then I said, "That's it. That's the last one. No more." And [Chuck] didn't disagree. Emotions ran high after the fight so we decided right that night. We said, "Let's meet in such and such weeks. We're going to go hike 'Madonna' (which is our mountain up there) and we'll talk about it and decide then.' We walked up Madonna and said, 'You know what? No more. That's it.' And we decided then and he came back down and announced it."

Weary of Liddell's fighting from the start, Hackleman says he felt conflicted over continuing the career, ultimately leaving the decision to his fighter.

"I was always pushing for him to retire, but as a coach, to keep putting that in his ear? Oh yea, I'm a great trainer. I'm telling you to retire and then saying 'hit harder!' It's kind of going both ways. I kind of just let him, as a grown man, decide. Like I said, Dana's input was important and well taken. I just didn't want that always shoved in Chuck's face because I was trying to build him up more."

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MEDIA STEW

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Submissions here.

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Long watches.

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TWEETS

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Sounds like it's going well.

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Nickname thievery.

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Oh my.

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Leben thanks the fans.

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Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night.

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Congrats!

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Yes please.

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???

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Jan. 21 2014)

Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Rua at UFC Fight Night 38

Rony Jason vs. Steven Siler at UFC Fight Night 38

Douglas Lima and Rick Hawn at Bellator 117

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via kahnagraphy.

ONE FC Gives Taiwanese MMA Fans Something To Look Forward To

Since debuting in September 2011, ONE FC has pushed hard to cement its reputation and position as Asia's largest MMA organization. Much has been said and written about the promotion's plans for MMA in the region - the intended benefits of the ONE FC Network of exclusive gyms, fighters and smaller promotions, the massive broadcasting reach covering a huge potential viewership and, most importantly, a sharp increase in world-class MMA events.

However, despite these lofty ambitions, the results thus far cannot be said to have lived up to expectations. This is not to say that ONE FC is a company peddling in hollow rhetoric and overstated hyperbole. Undeniably, by aiming high the promotion has been able to make some significant positive progress over these past two years. A look at the figures for the thirteen events they have under their belt confirms an increase in live attendance each time they return to a city or country, and their roster is being fleshed out and given more credibility with the recent signing of Ben Askren, and marquee attraction Shinya Aoki turning down a UFC contract in favor of remaining on board. They also held four events in the last four months of 2013.

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Check out the rest of the post here.

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Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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