In the opening seconds of the UFC 76: "Knockout" pay-per-view (PPV) telecast ringside announcer Mike Goldberg confirmed that Chuck Liddell would face Wanderlei Silva on December 29 with a win over Keith Jardine in the main event.
"Iceman" went on to drop a split-decision to the "Dean of Mean," dashing the monster showdown for which fans have clamored for years once again.
UFC President Dana White seemed resigned to the fact that the biggest fight in mixed martial arts history just one year ago was perhaps "never meant to happen, according to FOXSports.com.
Here's a snip from White:
"‘It's just not meant to happen,' said White, who talked about a conversation with Silva as the fight was going on, and telling Silva that he thought Jardine was going to win the fight. He noted Silva was in complete denial, seeing huge dollar signs fly out the window."
That's not even the half of it. In fact, there is an article on Yahoo!Sports.com that mentions Liddell is contemplating hanging up the gloves after his second consecutive loss — the first time that has happened in the illustrious career of the 37-year-old.
Here's a snip from White in that article:
"There's a hunger thing that you have to have to be an elite fighter and I just didn't see a Chuck Liddell who was as hungry as he used to be. Chuck has made a lot of money in this business and he's done a lot of things, but he wasn't the Chuck of old.... He needs to do what's right for him and not worry about us. This isn't the kind of sport you can be in half-heartedly. If you don't have the passion for it, it's time to get out. Only Chuck really knows how he feels, but you wonder because he hasn't looked the same, fire-wise, in either of these last two fights."
All the retirement talk, however, seems to be a bit premature — we're talking about a conversation in a locker room immediately following another disappointing loss. Put simply, this is a major life decision that is perhaps not best determined under the circumstances.
In addition, there is no question that Liddell-Silva is going to sell crazy tickets and monster PPV's. It's probably no longer a headliner, but it will still help fill the till to the brim.
And let's not forget: Silva is also on a two-fight losing skid. He, too, is not getting any younger, either.
Finally, is there another fighter on this planet who Liddell would "get up" more for than "The Axe Murderer?" I don't think so. Provided Liddell decides to not retire, then the clash with Silva makes sense .. and cents.
December 29 is now or never.