Former light heavyweight champion and UFC hall-of-famer Chuck Liddell split from his wife Heidi last fall and is currently fighting for custody of their children. Part of the divorce proceedings include separate court evaluations along with testimony from both parents.
In legal documents obtained by The Blast, Ms. Liddell accused the 52 year-old “Iceman” of having chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which has resulted in fits of paranoia, violence, and substance abuse.
“He’s been knocked out many times and has CTE,” she said. “He can’t remember stuff and gets stuck on speech. He’s going to have dementia or Alzheimer’s. He has terrible sleep apnea.”
Liddell lost five of his last six fights under the UFC banner with four of them ending by way of knockout. California State Athletic Commission irresponsibly approved his cagefighting return in late 2018, which resulted in yet another knockout loss.
Unfortunately for many fighters in MMA, life after combat sports can be fairly gruesome (unless you don’t believe in CTE). Other combatants from the Liddell era (like this former opponent) have also struggled to live normal lives in spite of their lingering health issues.
“Exposure to repetitive head trauma puts a person at risk for the development of cognitive changes that may occur years after an athlete has retired,” said Dr. Aaron Ritter, co-primary investigator of the Professional Athletes Brain Health Study. “The science coming out of the Professional Athletes Brain Health Study is clearly showing us that not all individuals experience cognitive changes and each individual may be affected in different ways.”
A judge is expected to rule on Liddell’s custody case in November.