Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champions Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell collided in the main event of Golden Boy MMA: Liddell vs. Ortiz III, with Ortiz picking up the first round knockout win.
There has been some criticism levied at the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) for allowing the aged MMA veterans to competed, but CSAC Executive Director Andy Foster says California is the safest place the two headliners could’ve fought at.
“We want to keep the fighters safe,” he said to MMA Fighting. “At the end of the day, it’s a fight. If we hadn’t approved the fight, that fight was probably gonna happen somewhere. California is the safest place for that fight to be at. We had our top referee in there (Herb Dean), he stopped the fight in a timely fashion. 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.”
Liddell was returning to action after an eight-plus year layoff, while Ortiz was returning after a year-plus layoff.
Foster says it could’ve been easier to say no to the fight, but the main event competitors did pass all medicals leading into the encounter.
“This would have been a whole lot easier for me if I just said no,” Foster said. “If I just say, ‘No, we’re not doing that.’ The regulations and the medical exams are not set up for the comfort of Andy Foster and whether it’s easy for me. This is a business and profession, the fight game. Chuck Liddell made money in this profession for many years. He wanted to enter this business and profession again, a business and profession he had been at the top of the world at, albeit a long time ago. If you pass all the medicals, the only thing left is, is the fight a mismatch? And I didn’t believe it was.”