Photo Courtesy of ABC
Monday, Sept. 21, 2009 | 11 a.m.
Dana White has been quite outspoken with his stance on Chuck Liddell ever fighting again, but that doesn’t mean the UFC president doesn’t support his longtime friend’s new career.
“I think everyone knows how I feel about Chuck Liddell — he has nothing left to prove, other than he can dance,” White joked Saturday night at the post-UFC 103 press conference about Liddell’s stint on "Dancing with the Stars," which starts tonight at 8 p.m. Las Vegas time on ABC.
White — who has financially backed “The Iceman’s” new endeavor as well, losing a $10,000 weight loss bet as a trim Liddell lost at least 20 pounds (White says much more) to get down to 212 pounds — will travel to Los Angeles tonight for the show that also includes NFL Hall of Famer and Dallas Cowboys legend Michael Irvin, Olympic gold medalist Natalie Coughlin, professional snowboarder Louie Vito and Las Vegas entertainer Donny Osmond.
"I think that it's great because Chuck needs something to do with his time right now, and he's taking it serious and he's training for it. It's good to see him fired up and taking something serious and back in the gym,” White said.
The 39-year-old Liddell, the UFC’s former light heavyweight fighter, has lost four of his last five bouts in the Octagon. After his most recent setback to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 97 in April, White said that MMA’s biggest star was going to retire.
While White has softened his stance a bit, nothing is in the works for Liddell until his competition on the show is over.
“I want to win,” Liddell told UFC.com, when it was announced that he would be one of the 16 participants on the ninth season of the popular reality show that pairs a professional dancer and celebrity.
“I don’t like losing in anything, so I’ll work as hard as they’ll let me.”
Liddell’s partner is 28-year-old pro Anna Trebunskaya, who is competing on her fourth season of the show. Trebunskaya teamed with legendary NFL receiver Jerry Rice to take second place on the second season of the show.
While Liddell will be the first mixed martial artist to compete in the dance-off, Las Vegas own boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. took part in the fifth season. Former champ Evander Holyfield showed he was not as graceful outside the ring as he was voted to have some of the worst dances from the first season of the show.
Sports stars have found success on the series as five of the previous eight winners have been athletes. Emmitt Smith, the NFL's all-time rushing leader won the third season, Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno was victorious in season No. 4, racer Helio Castroneves claimed the crown on season No. 5, Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi followed up winning the sixth installment, and Olympic gold-medal gymnist Shawn Johnson was victorious in the latest installment.