CSAC Chair “Surprised” Ortiz Knocked Out Liddell

While Andy Foster may not be shocked that Tito Ortiz took his trilogy fight with Chuck Liddell on Saturday, but the California State Athletic Commission executive director was “a little surprised” in the style of victory.

“It’s fair to say they slowed down,” Foster told Bloody Elbow. “I think it’s fair to say — without being disrespectful, because I respect [Liddell] in the highest regards — that [Liddell] slowed down from his past fights.”

Those past fights coming nearly a decade ago, where Liddell was knocked out in three straight fights, prompting a forced retirement by UFC President Dana White.

The CSAC sanctioned the Golden Boy MMA event, that featured Liddell vs. Ortiz 3 even. Foster said due to the ages of the fighters (Ortiz, 43 and Liddell, 48) the commission utilized Association of Ringside Physicians’ medical-testing plan for fighters 40 years old and older, featuring MRA and MRI testing of the brain, an EKG, cardiac testing, formal neurocognitive testing, blood work, and an eye exam, which both fighters passed.

“You have a 48-year-old versus a 43-year-old, they’ve fought twice before, the 48-year-old has two definitive wins against the 43-year-old,” Foster said. “Take the names out, if you put that information out there and they’ve been medically [cleared], I think it’s tough to say, ‘You know what, we’re not gonna let you make a living, because I think this is a mismatch. Even know you’ve beat him twice before, I think this is a mismatch.’

“I just didn’t think it was a mismatch, and I certainly didn’t think it was a mismatch to the point that I wasn’t gonna let somebody make a living.”

When asked what would happen if he denied Liddell or Ortiz a license, Foster believes “the fight was gonna happen somewhere.” “California’s the safest place to do it in. I had Herb Dean — my best referee, the world’s best referee — in there, we put them through an incredible amount of medical tests to hold it.”

“It’s the fight game. One of the ways to win is a knockout. Chuck got knocked out,” Foster said.

“There comes a time when maybe there’s other ways that you can contribute to the sport. That’s a decision Mr. Liddell will have to make.”

Initial Report: Bloody Elbow

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