Chuck Liddell is one of the main competitors who helped put mixed martial arts and UFC on the map. These days Liddell, 40, is pondering his future in the sport while also working on a charitable campaign (more at www.bic4good.com
). As part of the campaign, he recently shaved his trademark Mohawk. He also recently took time to speak with the Star Tribune's Michael Rand on a variety of subjects.
Q Tell me more about this charitable work you are doing -- how did you get involved with this?
A They came to me and asked me to do it. I've never done anything quite like that, but my hair grows back pretty quick. ... We just did it [Monday morning]. I'm walking around, and it looks funny to me. It's going to take a little time to get used to. But it's for a good cause, so it's a good thing to do.
Q You're almost exactly the same age as a certain quarterback playing for the Vikings. There have been a lot of questions about your future. You have stated you are still deciding whether to compete. What factors will go into that decision?
A It's about how I feel and if I want to go back and make a run at a title and how far away that would be. And whatever I think is left in the tank. I've been doing PR stuff for the last couple months, and I'll finally be home for the month. I'll probably decide sometime in September, when I have time to relax.
Q You won 20 of your first 23 career MMA bouts. Since 2007, though, the tables have turned with five losses in six bouts. Is there a part of you that feels like there's something to prove?
A I don't feel like there's anything left to prove. I still love fighting, but there's a lot that goes into it. Maybe it might be time. I'm just not sure yet.
Q Have you had time to reflect on your career -- the overall arc, the rise of UFC and mixed martial arts in general -- and if so what does that flashback look like?
A You know, I've enjoyed the ride. No matter what, I've had a good time. I never expected it, but I've gotten paid a lot to do what I love. There are no complaints.
Q The Canadian Medical Association recently voted to seek a ban on mixed martial arts in that country. What are your thoughts on that development and the overall issue of safety in MMA?
A It makes no sense to start banning it. Are they trying to ban boxing, too? No. Then it makes absolutely no sense to anyone. When it comes to damage, boxing will cause more damage than MMA ever will. I would love to see what the statistics are and what their reasoning is for MMA being banned as opposed to boxing. It's ridiculous.
Q "Dancing with the Stars" is the new big crossover move for athletes, it seems. Did you ever imagine you would take that step as you did in 2009?
A I didn't think I would. But I was taking time off at the time, and it seemed like a good way to get to a demographic that we didn't have. I wanted to show that we're not just Neanderthals beating each other up. We have jobs, we work hard and we're normal people. That was my goal with the show, and I had a good time with it.