Chuck Liddell launches new movie, talks return to fighting and the infamous Lee Murray/Tito Ortiz brawl

May 12, 2020

– Guest Editorial by Ed Theisen

I recently had the privilege of interviewing one of MMA’s favorite ambassadors, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell. Chuck’s UFC 57 fight worn shorts from his knockout victory over Randy Couture are one of the prized pieces in my collection. Covered with Randy Couture’s blood, they are the focal point of all fans and fellow collectors when on display.

Chuck Liddell UFC 57 fight shorts

Chuck iced Randy that February night in 2006 to defend the UFC light heavyweight championship. He would go on to defend the belt a total of four times with victories over Jeremy Horn, Couture, Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Tito Ortiz. When asked what Chuck’s two favorite victories were, the answer was simple, his first fight against Tito Ortiz and his second fight against Randy Couture, where he captured the UFC light heavyweight title.

Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture at UFC 57

Who told the truth: Tito Ortiz, Pat Miletich or Lee Murray?

When speaking with Chuck, he doesn’t care what you ask him. So I felt compelled to find out his version of that famous bar brawl in England after the UFC 38, during the summer of 2002. The brawl started with a friend of Tito’s playfully jumping on the back of Pat Miletich and then getting KO’d by a friend of Lee Murray’s that thought Pat was being attacked.

The big question was if Tito was actually KO’d by Murray. To this Chuck responded, “Absolutely not.”

Chuck recollects maybe Tito being knocked down, but he was definitely not knocked out. He remembered Tito was wearing dress shoes which were not ideal for a street fight. He clearly remembers, after knocking out at least five or six guys himself, walking off with a girl he didn’t even know, to appear not to be part of the melee once the cops arrived.

Looking back, he saw Tito pulling and tugging with the police to get at Murray. I told Chuck that Pat Miletich’s story stated Tito was KO’d and kicked in the head. Chuck’s reaction to that was Pat was gone before the two even fought, so Pat had no idea what happened. Chuck remembered Pat loading up the guy who was KO’d into a cab and both left the scene.

Keep in mind, Chuck does not really care much for Tito Ortiz, so there would be no benefit in lying to make Tito look better. According to Chuck, Tito has always been self centered, such that when the two were doing a signing in Bakersfield, Calif., Tito wouldn’t even let fans get pictures with him. He’s not a very nice person and does not have much to do with the guys who helped him coming up, other than the rich ones. “If they can no longer do anything to benefit Tito, then it’s like see ya.”

Chuck summed up that bar brawl very well with: “Once it’s not a one on one, there are no cheap shots, anyone hitting someone I knew I just ran over and dropped ’em. If I hit you from the side and you don’t see me hit you, you’re going to sleep.”

I think Tito was lucky to have Chuck in the street that night, probably saved his ass. In the end, Chuck was the only one that did not get detained, his little trick of walking off with a random girl seemed to work. Something tells me he may have used that trick before.

Chuck Liddell’s new movie ‘Cage Fighters: Worlds Collide’

Chuck recently finished a new film called, “Cage Fighters: Worlds Collide,” starring himself, Luke Rockhold, Jon Moxley and Alex Montagnani. Chuck, who plays a trainer in this movie, drew inspiration for his role from his former trainer John Hackleman. Chuck’s part in the film is a father figure/mentor to a fighter similar to what John was to him. Rockhold plays the trainer opposite of Chuck.

The movie depicts cross promotions between MMA and wrestling and MMA and boxing. We have seen cross promotions of a sort recently in the UFC with CM Punk, Ronda Rousey and Brock Lesnar to name a few. I asked Chuck if he would ever consider a career in pro wrestling. He said he had hung out with Shane McMahon, noting he would do a special appearance, but the wrestling grind now would just be too hard on his body. He might have considered it when he was 20.

He explained the differences between MMA and Pro Wrestling that in MMA it’s my job not to let you hurt me, but in pro wrestling it’s the other guys job not to hurt me. I’m letting him throw me and if he messes up and hurts me it’s on him, but then I’m still the one hurt.

At the time he received the movie script, he had just undergone surgery on his neck, so he almost turned down the role. However, when he found out they wanted him as a trainer, he was in. He enjoyed the cast of this movie very much and feels confident in its success. The film will stream in Canada, the UK and Australia for one night only on May 16 on FITE and will hit the United States later this year.

Caegfighter Worlds Collide - Chuck Liddell - Luke Rockhold

Will Chuck Liddell return to fighting?

The last question I had for Chuck was if we will ever see him fight again. Chuck would love to, but with two neck surgeries under his belt and a partial knee replacement, he feels it’s his time to just train people. He can still fight with these guys, but for some reason he just can’t take a punch like he used to; not even close. However, he states, you never know what might happen when he gets back in shape. 

It was a pleasure getting to interview Chuck. He’s been one of my favorite fighters since the early days of his career. I feel his victory over Wanderlei Silva was one of the best fights of all time and that fight should be inducted into the UFC hall of fame. It’s great to see legends like Chuck in movies and I hope we can all support him and the rest of the crew once it’s released in the states this fall.

Chuck Liddell - UFC 54

Ed Theisen is a preserver of MMA and combat sports memorabilia.  It is his goal, along with partner Charlie Smith, to open up the very first combat sports museum.