It’s been seven years since former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell last fought inside the Octagon. He hung up his gloves and put away his trademark icicle trunks and entered the unfamiliar world of retirement.
With fighting behind him, “The Iceman” felt lost. “It’s hard to explain,” he told MMAWeekly.com. “When you spend 40 years having something scheduled, a football game, a wrestling match, a baseball game, a training camp, a fight, I was a little lost. I needed motivation and it was good to have that motivation back again. It was good having a goal.”
Liddell found that motivation again when presented with the opportunity to appear on the Youtube Red original series “Ultimate Expedition.” The show, which premiered on Wednesday, brought together eight celebrities with no previous climbing experience to summit the 20,000-foot Mount Tocllaraju in Peru.
“My manager called me with the opportunity and I needed a little kick in the ass to get back in shape, so I said sure, let’s do it,” he said.
“I thought I was going to be able to get in shape before I went, but I only had two weeks,” he said. . “Going up the steps with your luggage and getting winded going to the second floor, I was like, wow.”
With no previous climbing experience, each cast member accepted the challenge, but was on a separate journey. Some wanted to prove they could do it. Others wanted the adventure. For Liddell, it was about setting an example for his children.
His daughter, Guinevere, was born in 2011, and his son, Charles Jr., was born in 2013. They didn’t see their father rise up the ranks of the 205-pound division and become a UFC world champion.
“I wanted to do it so my kids could see me accomplishing the goal, working hard. I was a world champion, but they didn’t get to see that. I wanted them to see me that way,” he said.
Base camp for the expedition was over 14,000 feet. At the time, that was the highest elevation Liddell had ever experienced. He had to learn survival techniques, as well as how to climb in treacherous conditions. Mostly, he had to learn to pace himself.
“Mountain climbing isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. I had to learn to slow down. When facing a challenge, I would always just push through. The biggest thing was to just slow down and pace myself,” he said.
“Ultimate Expedition“ was exactly what Liddell needed to have a goal again. To be motivated and feel a little bit like his younger self.
“It was a good experience. It gave me that motivation back. I needed that,” he said. “The Iceman is definitely back.”
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