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CSAC has a pretty solid defense for licensing Liddell-Ortiz 3, despite its gruesome ending

Gennady Golovkin v Canelo Alvarez: Weigh-in Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Say whatever you want about how dirty it felt to watch last weekend’s Golden Boy MMA pay-per-view (PPV), which featured the ugly and sometimes uncomfortable performance by UFC legend Chuck Liddell, but nobody really knew what version of “The Iceman” to expect.

We certainly predicted he would look as old and broken down as he did, but a hunch is not enough to disqualify a fighter from competing. Particularly when said fighter is able to pass his medicals and face an opponent of equal or lesser value.

Like Tito Ortiz, who already lost to Liddell twice in his combat sports career.

That’s why California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) Executive Director, Andy Foster, rubber-stamped their Nov. 24 trilogy. Both fighters had the opportunity to collect a handsome bounty and there was nothing egregious enough to give him pause.

Collective groan from the MMA universe notwithstanding.

“It’s hard to say it’s a mismatch when you’ve got two wins over the guy already,” Foster told MMA Fighting. “If you tell somebody as the executive officer, ‘Yeah, I don’t think you should be doing this even though you passed all your medicals,’ you’re basically telling that fighter, you can’t make a half a million dollars or however much he was making. That’s a big responsibility to tell somebody they can’t make a living. I take that responsibility seriously. This is a business and profession, the fight game. If you pass all the medicals, the only thing left is, is the fight a mismatch? And I didn’t believe it was.”

More than a few eyebrows were raised during the pre-fight workouts, when Liddell’s sparring looked less like fighting and more like someone trying to swim in quicksand. Heck, even Ortiz thought he was sandbagging it for the cameras (he wasn’t).

I guess all that mountain climbing didn't pay off.

I think the real test for Foster and CSAC is the potential for Liddell to make his return to cage fighting (seriously). Perhaps we didn’t know what to expect prior to his knockout loss to Ortiz, but there is little question after the fact that “The Iceman” has no business competing.

Unless promoter Oscar de la Hoya can exhume the remains of someone equally brittle.

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