White once won $5k when Liddell ‘beat the crap’ out of a hotel security guard
Dana White and Chuck Liddell enjoyed a relationship which extended far beyond work in the former fighter’s UFC heyday. Both men, now in their 50s and a big reason for the roaring success of mixed martial arts, had a lot of fun building the house that is the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
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Liddell and White have enjoyed some crazy times together
Before Boston-native White assumed presidency of the UFC, he managed a host of top fighters, including Liddell as well as Tito Ortiz. Alongside childhood friend Lorenzo Fertitta, he eventually bought the company in 2001 for just £2million, with the promotion sold for a whopping £4.2billion in 2016.
However, his friendship with Liddell remained tight throughout the entirety of his ascent to the top of the combat sports world and was forged during the early years of the UFC when both men could tour the US and not get stopped by adoring fans. And the two had a lot of fun, with White even once accidentally walking into Liddell’s hotel room after a night in which the fighter had invited a lot of ‘company’ back there for a party.
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Liddell became the face of UFC in its infancy under the Fertitta ownership
That craziness aside, Liddell recalled another incident in his autobiography, Iceman, which the two men shared during the early years of the Fertitta-White ownership when they sought to drive support for the burgeoning organisation, by any means possible. “Those first few years no one knew us on the East Coast,” he wrote. “I toured Ibiza, Spain, with Dana and was stopped every five feet.
“But in Boston or New York or Philly, I was just some guy with a Mohawk people crossed the street to avoid. One night we went out after a day of pushing the UFC and wound up at our hotel at around two in the morning.
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Liddell’s intimidating skull tattoo drew plenty of glances
“It was a fancy place, not the kind of joint where you’d try to take someone down in the lobby. But the basement, that’s another story.
“While I went straight back to my room that night, Dana got into a conversation with one of the hotel security guards, who wanted to know what was up with Dana’s buddy with the tattoo on his head. “Dana told him I was a UFC fighter. The guy’s first response was ‘This is all crap.
None of that stuff is real.’ “Dana answered, ‘I’ve got five grand in my pocket and I guarantee that you can’t last five minutes with Chuck Liddell.’ The guy took the bet.
A swift neck crank put an end to the hotel brawl
“Then Dana called me down into the lobby. He told me he had five grand riding on me to beat the crap out of this hotel security guard, who used to be a high school wrestler.
“I had two minutes to make him tap out. Anything less, and Dana was out five thousand bucks. “Within a few minutes a large portion of the hotel staff were in the lobby of this four-star hotel at two in the morning to see the ultimate fighter take on the hotel security guard.
“It was like the old days of Vale Tudo fighting in Brazil – we were all part of the circus, just looking to entertain the masses, make a few bucks, and win a few fans.
“And, in less than two minutes, just as Dana asked, it was over. “Before the guard could make a real move, I put him in a neck crank that was so fierce he started yelling, ‘I can’t see, I can’t see’. I let him go and he was writhing in pain on the ground, Afterwards Dana and I went out for cannoli.
“Dana saw the guy the next day and he looked to be in so much pain Dana felt bad and gave the guy some money anyway. “Part of him of him probably did it so we didn’t get sued.” For a man now worth a reported £500m, that presumably seems like a lifetime ago.
White now places ‘small’ £100,000 bets on things like Canelo Alvarez to beat Caleb Plant.
He knows what he’s doing as he picked up a tidy £40,000 by predicting the legendary Mexican would win via knockout, which he did – in the 11th round.
White was even seen watching the super-middleweight bout at the same time as Rose Namajunas vs Weili Zhang at UFC 268 to check on his bet.
White was keen to see how his bet was going during UFC 268