Liddell, Ortiz agree to trilogy fight
UFC Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz have formally agreed to a trilogy fight; the event, which has no date or venue or name, will be promoted by De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions. The bout will be in a cage, rather than a ring, and will be contested at light heavyweight.
"I'm proud to announce we've signed a deal for the fight between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz," said De La Hoya said in a statement to Brett Okamoto for ESPN. "This will be huge for sports fans around the world. Ortiz and Liddell are two of the most recognized fighters in MMA history. They are legends in the sport. Everyone remembers their rivalry helped put the sport on the map, and we're excited to host the next and final chapter of this historic rivalry."
Liddell, 48, retired in 2010 following three knockout losses in a row, when UFC president Dana White talked him into it, in return for what 'The Iceman' believed was a lifetime no-show position with the company. When the UFC was acquired by WME-IMG (no Endeavor) the job ended, and Liddell started talking about fighting again.
"It feels great to sign a deal, to be honest with you," said Liddell. "It's as exciting as I knew it would be. Golden Boy offers something different. We're partners in this. And I never get sick of punching Tito."
Ortiz's exit was different. He too left the UFC on a three-fight losing streak, but moved to Bellator MMA, where he went 3-1, losing only in a title shot. While Liddell has indicated he wants to fight past the Tito trilogy, Ortiz, five years younger, isn't so sure.
"I'm only interested in fighting Chuck at this time," said Ortiz. "If anything, the rivalry is worse than it ever was. This isn't made for TV. This is as real as it gets."
Liddell won both previous fights, via KO at UFC 47 on April 2, 2004, and TKO at UFC 66 on December 30, 2006.