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Morning Report: Joe Rogan on Liddell vs. Ortiz III announcement: ‘I think it’s the motivation that bothers me’

Earlier this week, it was announced that the long-rumored trilogy bout between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz would actually be happening later this year under the Golden Boy Promotions banner. It was an announcement that not everyone was excited about.

Well, count UFC commentator Joe Rogan among that group.

Speaking on his Joe Rogan Experience MMA Show podcast Tuesday, Rogan said that though he was “definitely gonna watch it,” there is something about the fight that bothers him.

“If they want to compete, if it’s because they want to compete, I wonder where it makes sense to tell them they can’t or they shouldn’t?” Rogan said. “Because if they want to do it and they had money - what is it about it? Is it the motivation that bothers me? What is it about a fight like that? I think it’s the motivation that bothers me, a little bit.”

The widely speculated motivation for this trilogy fight is the oldest motivation in prizefighting: money. After retiring from MMA in 2010, Liddell was set up with a company job at the UFC but was let go after WME-IMG purchased the UFC in 2016. Though Liddell has denied being in any financial trouble, Ortiz certainly has suggested before that “the Iceman” is returning for a windfall.

And a windfall could be forthcoming. Ortiz has said that he and Liddell will receive a direct percentage of the pay-per-view, as well as the gate and other sources of income in relation to the fight, and “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” is hoping to draw 500,000 pay-per-view buys, which would be a king’s ransom for the two fighters were it to happen.

But at what cost?

Liddell has not fought since 2010 and had been violently knocked out in his final three fights. At 48, returning to MMA to take more brain trauma for paycheck seems overly risky. But if there was no paycheck involved, Rogan sounds like he would be a lot more inclined to support the idea. After all, no one lives forever.

“[Chuck] has been saying that he misses it. It was his favorite thing and he misses it. If we were gonna live forever, I’d say definitely don’t do it because you’re just gonna keep damaging yourself. But if you’re not gonna live forever . . .”

Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz III will take place later this year. The fight will take place in a cage, not a ring, and a promotional tour is being considered also.


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1999: Mark Kerr submitted Nobuhiko Takada with a kimura at Pride 6. This was the lat win of Kerr’s undefeated streak when he was widely considered to be one of the premiere fighters in the world.


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