Chuck Liddell may be content in retirement for the time being, but that hasn’t stopped the bad blood between he and Chael Sonnen from escalating.
Sonnen revealed Wednesday at Bellator 192 open workouts that he and Liddell got into a near-altercation Tuesday amid Sonnen’s media tour for his Jan. 20 headlining fight against Quinton Jackson. Sonnen said that everything happened backstage at The Rich Eisen Show, and that Sonnen’s family ended up getting involved as well.
“I come into the dressing room and there was Chuck, face-to-face, and it was awkward,” Sonnen told MMA Fighting. “And I was doing Eisen and he told me, ‘You got a message for Chuck? He’ll be here tomorrow.’ So I gave him a message to Chuck, thinking he would be there tomorrow. Turned out Chuck was in the back, watching it on a monitor, with my mother.
“So my mom and uncle had to get involved and it was just a big, colossal — I had to go one way and Chuck had to go the other, and it was weird. But I don’t think he’s going to fight again. I didn’t ask him point-blank because we were too busy yelling at one another, but he looked good, I’ll give him that. I mean, it looked like he was in shape, but I don’t know. I don’t know what he’s going to do.”
Sonnen, 40, and Liddell, 48, have traded barbs through the press and on social media since rumblings of a potential Liddell return to MMA began to pick up steam in mid-2017. Liddell dismissed much of Sonnen’s talk this week in an interview with MMA Fighting, stating that if he was really bothered by Sonnen’s comments, he would “show up to [Sonnen’s] house” and the two would “find out real quick.”
Liddell also reiterated past comments that Sonnen would be a “perfect” opponent if the UFC Hall of Famer did decide to come out of retirement, saying of Sonnen, “He can’t break an egg with his hands, he’s not gonna out-wrestle me, he’s not gonna be able to lay on top of me — he’s not gonna pull that lay and pray with me.”
If those are fighting words, Sonnen is certainly up for the challenge.
“I’m up for it right now,” Sonnen said Wednesday. “I’m ready to go. I was ready to fight him yesterday in the green room, would’ve reached right over my mother.”
A former UFC light heavyweight champion, Liddell was one of the most celebrated figures of the UFC’s early era, popularizing the 205-pound division with the help of a seven-fight streak of knockout wins from 2004 to 2006 highlighted by a quartet of blockbuster wins over Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture. “The Iceman” retired from the sport in 2010, then served as a UFC executive until he was let go by the company in 2016 following WME-IMG’s acquisition of the UFC.
But until Liddell wants to step back into the cage and settle things, Sonnen isn’t concerned with Liddell’s résumé.
“See, here’s the thing with Chuck, is, Chuck is a seemingly very nice guy,” Sonnen said. “Everyone I talk to that knows, he’s a seemingly (nice guy), a gentleman. But he came through the competition era. We’re in the entertainment era. And some of those guys, they get offended a little easier, or the table that they helped set — and he did, in fairness — has changed, and they feel like it changes their legacy and they feel left out. And he was just pissed. What am I supposed to do?
“Eff him. Let him be pissed. What do I care about Chuck’s feelings?”