In a high profile moment for UFC, and another mark of it reaching mainstream acceptance, Chuck Liddell was a guest on "Late Show with David Letterman" on CBS tonight.
Letterman said he watches UFC and it frightens him. He said he's afraid that during all the time he's mouthed off to people in traffic, one of them could be a UFC fighter. "When you realize you can beat anybody just physically with your body, that gives you a peace of mind that the rest of us don't have, doesn't it?" Liddell said he doesn't have anything to prove.
Letterman asked how it's changed since it began as a renegade sport. Liddell said it's been regulated and sanctioned. He said a few rules have been added, but the style overall hasn't changed.
Regarding if it's safer than boxing, he said: "I think it's safer than boxing. Less permanent damage. You don't get hit in the head as much. I've seen pro boxing matches where the guy who won was hit with more power punches than I've been hit in my entire career. I was hurt more in five years of college wrestling than I have been in the last probably 13, 15 years of fighting."
Letterman asked if he can legally put people to sleep. Liddell said he can do that if someone doesn't tap out. He said he's never tapped, but he was put to sleep once.
He asked him about his title loss. Liddell said he made a mistake and threw a punch when he wasn't supposed to according to his trainer. He said his trainer warned him, and his trainer was right. He said beating Rampage Jackson is still on his to-do list. He said he shouldn't have thrown a wild left hook because it left him open. Regarding how he felt after the right, "Well, it kinda sucked." Letterman asked him if he minded them showing the clip. He was okay with it. They aired him getting KO'd. Liddell explained what he did wrong.
Liddell said his strength is being a wrestler and a striker, and most often he stands and strikes.
Letterman asked him who the heavyweight boxing champion. He said he doesn't know, but he could name the UFC Heavyweight Champion easily.
Letterman showed a picture of Liddell and his eight year son on ESPN Magazine's cover. He said if his son wanted to be an MMA fighter, he'd be okay with it. He agreed that it is America's fastest growing sport. He said it's more fun to watch than boxing because there's so many more aspects to the fights.
Letterman said it must be a great feeling to know they could line up a string of guys from the crowd and he could knock them all out easily. He ended with a plug for UFC on PPV and on Spike TV, but nothing specific.
Keller's Analysis Liddell came across really well. He was humble, personable, funny, and a good sport. He wasn't dynamic or especially memorable, but he came across how he and UFC would both like him to. He represented UFC well. Letterman was especially good. He's clearly a casual fan, and didn't ask any stupid questions (well, at least not with prior knowledge they were stupid with the intent of being funny).