“The UFC Wouldn’t Take Chuck Liddell” – Dana White Makes a Startling Revelation About “The Iceman”, an Integral Part for Building the Promotion From Debt to Nearly $10 Billion

Published 12/08/2022, 3:10 AM EST
CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 24: UFC President Dana White interacts with media during the UFC on FOX press conference on January 24, 2013 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Dana White was recently a guest on Paddy Pimblett‘s ‘Chattin Pony’ podcast. The 53-year-old conversed with Pimblett for almost an hour. During their talk, they previewed the upcoming UFC 282 card, the recent UFC Orlando card, etc. While the highlight of the show was the pair dissing Ariel Helwani, White also divulged some interesting information about UFC legend Chuck Liddell. At the end of his podcast, Pimblett has a segment called ‘Ask Paddy.’ During this segment, he asks the guests questions from the listeners. One of the questions for White was about the top three fighters he was closest to and the reason behind it.

White named a few fighters from the old guard, like Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, and Rich Franklin. He said he had these fighters over at his home for occasions like Christmas and the fourth of July. He also mentioned Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, Georges St-Pierre, and Kamaru Usman as fighters he was close to.


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Dana White reveals the UFC didn’t want Chuck Liddell

Speaking of Chuck Liddell, White gave some information about the light heavyweight’s signing for the UFC. The 53-year-old said he used to manage Liddell before bringing him over to the UFC. He also revealed how the old owners were not keen on signing ‘The Iceman’.

SHANGHAI, CHINA – JUNE 20: Dana White, UFC President gives a speech during 2019 UFC Performance Institute Panel and UFC Fight Night Shenzhen Press Conference at UFC Performance Institute Shanghai on June 20, 2019 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Yifan Ding/Getty Images)

“You know Chuck Liddell and I were so close. I used to manage him first and then … I brought him into the UFC when we bought it. The UFC wouldn’t take Chuck Liddell, you know that? They didn’t like him. They didn’t think he had what it took… The old owners of the UFC.”

White also revealed that he was trying to get Liddell into the UFC before he was the UFC president. However, the old owners did not want him. White said, “Chuck Liddell was unsigned at the time. When I was his manager, I was trying to get him in the UFC and they didn’t want him.”


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White spoke very highly of the former UFC champion and credited him for being a forerunner in building the legacy of the company and the sport. He said, “He’s definitely one of the big-time pioneers of the sport.”

Throwback to what White said about Chuck Liddell fighting again

In an interview given to TMZ in 2019, Dana White actively discouraged Liddell from fighting again. Liddel had fought rival Tito Ortiz for the third time the previous year. He lost that bout but had won the first two. Liddell and Ortiz fought under Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions banner.


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LAS VEGAS, NV – JANUARY 20: UFC President Dana White interacts with the media during the UFC 197 on-sale press conference event inside MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on January 20, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Speaking of Liddell, White said, “Chuck Liddell is 50 years old and should not be fighting.” Commenting on their friendship and Liddell’s personality, he added. “Chuck Liddell is one of the greatest people you could ever meet. He’s a good person… He’s a guy that you become friends with and you’re friends with that guy for the rest of your life.”

However, the former UFC fighter has had a huge role in building the UFC into the billion-dollar promotion it is today.


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Watch This StoryDana White once revealed his thoughts about Tom Brady

What do you think of Dana White and Chuck Liddell’s friendship? Where do you rank Liddell in the list of UFC pioneers? Let us know in the comments below.



Yeswanth Praveen

342 articles

Yeswanth Praveen is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. His interests mainly lie in the realm of MMA, bodybuilding, and the fitness industry. He finished his Master's in English literature from EFLU, Hyderabad.

Edited By: Rohini Kottu