by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Amid much speculation, Chuck Liddell cleared the air last night on MMAWeekly Radio with Damon Martin & Jeff Cain, admitting that he did indeed injure his knee prior to his fight with Tito Ortiz and that he also did injure his finger. He also cleared up some of the misinformation that has spread.
The initial reports in the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Wrestling Observer were that Liddell had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in training and that it would require surgery to repair, leaving the Ultimate Fighting Championship Light Heavyweight Champion out of action for the better part of 2007.
Liddell seemed unclear as to how the nature of his injury became so distorted. In fact, according to him, the knee injury wasn’t anywhere near as serious as a torn ACL. “It didn’t affect my training… I don’t know who said that. I mean, I told Dana afterwards, but he was one of the few people outside of my camp and my camp won’t talk about it. Someone said it was an ACL. No, no, no, no. I tore an MCL,” stated the champ. “It happens to wrestlers all the time. It’s painful, but there were no stability problems… It changed very little in my game and I don’t think it really had any effect on the fight.”
Liddell also confirmed the finger injury, as he said, “It’s just a tendon popped out. Other than it looking really ugly if you don’t get it fixed, it doesn’t do much. It stops you from extending your finger. It doesn’t hurt me from grabbing or making a fist for punching. I have a splint on it and they say that if I keep that on it for 4 to 6 weeks it should [heal without surgery]. Hopefully that works.”
If it had been an ACL injury, it is likely that Liddell would be facing a best-case scenario of being out of action for at least 6 months. But with the knee injury being a tear to his MCL and given that he doesn’t need surgery on his finger, he doesn’t expect to be out of action any longer than his typical post-fight recovery. “I’m doing some gym work [now]. I’ll probably start running and other things next week. I’ll probably take the 4 to 6 weeks it takes for my hand to heal before I start to spar and doing that stuff.”
Liddell continued, “Typically after fights, with all the PR stuff I’m doing, that’s usually the amount of time I’m taking off after fights anyway. What the doctor said was that if you take a week to four weeks off, [the knee] will be 100 percent. Now I have four weeks to do stuff on it lightly and it should be 100 percent.”
The misunderstanding of the injury being a torn ACL, which typically does require surgical repair, could stem from the conversation in the Octagon in which Liddell told UFC president Dana White about the injury. “I said [to Dana], ‘Oh, by the way, I tore my MCL before this fight.’ Anytime I’ve been injured going into a fight, I’ll never tell. I tell him afterwards, and he said, ‘You f**king a**hole.’ He was just laughing at me, pretty much [in the manner he said it]. It’s what you’d say to a friend.”