Chuck Liddell Says He Had Serious Neck Injury Leading Into Third Fight With Tito Ortiz


Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell suffered a first round knockout loss to former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz in the main event of Golden Boy MMA: Liddell vs. Ortiz III.

It appears that Liddell wasn’t 100% heading into the bout, as Liddell claims he had a serious neck injury before fighting Ortiz for a third time.

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“Right after the fight, I had my neck fused from C3-C4,” he said to Sherdog. “But I guess…I didn’t really know that I had a problem and I was that pigheaded. So I got the MRI, went in, and [the doctor] goes ‘so, you’re having some problems with balance and coordination, right?’ I go ‘no, I’m fine.’ [The doctor replies] ‘No, really? Do me a favor and go stand on the other side of the room and walk to me heel-to-toe.’ I couldn’t do it. I kept [losing balance]. Then I stood on one foot, [spread out my arms] and touched my nose with my eyes closed. And as soon as I closed my eyes I fell over. Before the fight, [the commission] showed up at my house for a drug test. They also had me do all these neuro tests. One of the things they had me do is stand on one foot, close my eyes and touch my nose. Well, I fell over the first time I did it. So, [the next time] I just kept my eyes kinda open a little bit and did it. And I just figured I was tired. I didn’t know it meant anything.”

Liddell would retire from professional MMA after the fight and he had neck surgery done a short time after the loss to Ortiz.

The event was the lone one for Golden Boy MMA and Liddell says the promotion screwed all of the fighters.

“I think they signed a Dazn deal and just…gave up on it,” he said. “[Golden Boy] let it go. They were thinking ‘oh I’m gonna make some money’ and they signed that big Dazn deal and they said, ‘have at it guys, have fun.’ They just kind of screwed us. They just didn’t care. I mean they weren’t promoting anything, they canceled all the PR things, I mean it was like they just hung us out to dry.”

Ortiz has since gone onto fight former WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio, scoring a first round submission win at Combate Americas: Tito vs. Alberto.

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