Chuck Liddell's biggest problem with MMA? Fighters ‘playing it safe'

Jeff Vinnick/Zuffa LLC

Chuck Liddell shares what he believes to be the biggest problem with mixed martial arts (MMA) today.

Retired former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell is tired of seeing fighters play it safe inside the Octagon.

"The Iceman" has been retired from mixed martial arts (MMA) competition for nearly three years now, and as he settles in to his role as VP of Business Development, Liddell gains a stronger opinion of what he sees goes on in the sport from an administrative perspective.

One of the things Liddell has taken notice of is the increase of athletes trying to simply get a win by any means necessary instead of going for an impressive (technical) knockout or submission. He believes there is a lot of coasting going on in certain aspects of fights and quite frankly, the 43-year-old has had enough.

"The fighters probably aren't going to like me for this one but my biggest problem is guys playing it safe," Liddell said on Friday's (July 19, 2013) edition of "Inside MMA" on AXS TV. "I understand it from a coach's standpoint and a manager's standpoint, I understand why you want to play it safe and win every fight. I get it. But do I want to go watch a guy beat a guy for four rounds and then in the fifth round not do anything?

"You want to be worth more? Go out and fight. Have fun. Knock people out. Submit them. Beat them. I don't care. Just try and finish a fight."

Liddell views this as a growing problem in the sport and has serious concerns over the fact most competitors put getting the win ahead of putting on a show for the fans who pay good money to watch the UFC's product.

The Hall of Fame inductee has such a problem with this that it played a role in his decision to hang up the gloves back in 2010. While he believes he could have continued to fight, Liddell didn't want to close out his career by trying to squeeze out a few lackluster victories and chose to go out swinging the only way he knew how.

"That's one of the reasons I retired. If you stuck around the way I was fighting I would have had to start playing it safe," he said. "I went out on my shield and that's the way I liked it. I fought that way my whole career and I didn't want to bore people for my last three of four fights."

There will always be a contingent of fighters who perform the way Liddell despises, but as time goes on he hopes to see a change in perspective from the athletes and they will learn that giving the fans entertaining fights is better for a career in the long run.

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