by Scott Petersen – MMAWeekly.com
Late last week, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell appeared on a talk show called Good Morning Texas as part of his tour promoting the movie “300.” But it wasn’t the movie or Chuck’s fighter status that got the attention; it was Liddell’s slurred speech and the fact that he almost fell asleep during the interview.
As thousands of people have downloaded the show to see what happened, the rumors have started to fly about the UFC titleholder.
MMAWeekly had a chance to speak with Chuck Liddell’s trainer, John Hackleman, about the incident on the talk show and Liddell’s current health condition. It’s not as exciting as the rumors that flowed freely over the web, but Hackleman said that what really happened was, “He got sick almost a month ago. He started coughing… we just thought it was just some allergies and a little bit of bronchitis.”
Hackleman said that Chuck has been flying all over the place, doing PR for both the UFC and for the movie “300” (which Liddell was signed to promote). Hackleman said that he hasn’t seen Liddell much recently except during training, but he added that UFC president Dana White saw that Liddell was in bad shape and told him to immediately see a doctor. For one reason or another, Liddell didn’t get into a doctor’s office, and Hackleman said it got to a point where Liddell could “barely breathe.”
On the night before his appearance on Good Morning Texas, Liddell was in Texas and was on the phone with Hackleman, asking what he could take to get some sleep. Hackleman told him to take some Nyquil and drink lots of water. Apparently, Liddell still couldn’t sleep and someone nearby gave him prescription sleep aid pills, which are not supposed to be taken in combination with non-prescription sleep aids like Nyquil. Four hours later, it was time for Liddell to wake up for his TV appearance, and the rest is history.
Hackleman thought Liddell had a sinus infection and bronchitis, but when Liddell got back to California and went to see a doctor, it was determined that he has pneumonia. On a lighter side, Hackleman said, “If you see Chuck at 8:00 in the morning anyways, he doesn’t talk much differently than that to begin with. Now you give him a couple of medications and he’s gone… Chuck naturally goes to bed at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning and gets up at noon or one, and that’s just his style. We don’t do old school early in the morning runs like in the old days. His first workout is around 1:00 PM… we do a workout at 1:00 PM and a workout at 8:00 PM.”
“Chuck is such a big, high-notoriety guy that everything he does now will be under a microscope and taken out of context, blown out of proportion, everything sensationalized… that’s the way it is with a guy like Chuck,” said Hackleman.
Hackleman said that Liddell has to take a two-week supply of antibiotics for his pneumonia before he gets back to training for a fight that will hopefully take place in May against a still undetermined opponent.