[Ed's note: Next week, Ryan checks in via video with Brian Stann!]
When Chuck Liddell found out he would be fighting Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in London, his entire crew sprung for plane tickets. Then Rua got hurt, and the UFC put in Rashad Evans to face Liddell in June; subsequently, Liddell got hurt, and the fight was off.
But: Liddell and about ten of his people decided to hit Europe for a Griswold-type tour/vacation. With girlfriend Erin Wilson along for the trip, and a stop planned in Paris, a plan came together: he'd propose to her by the Eiffel Tower. A friend told him it was a terrific romantic environment and that Liddell should time it to an amazing light show that goes off every half hour by the Tower.
Liddell, 37, has never been married, and he wanted to do it right. This seemed perfect.
When the group got there, Liddell waited for the lights show…
…and waited some more.
After an hour, nothing had happened.
"I was showing everybody everything in the area, just making stuff up," Liddell says.
He stalled for another half hour as his buddy shrugged and indicated that the lights show must be about to fire up any second.
Another half hour rolled by. Still nothing.
With Wilson (and everybody else) ready to leave, Liddell got down on one knee and proposed. Wilson was speechless for a few seconds, then said yes.
They kissed. Done deal.
As the group was leaving, Liddell heard oohs and aahs and everybody turned around. The lights show had begun.
"That kind of sucked," Liddell says.
The two haven't set a wedding date.
The MMA world is abuzz about Affliction's solid show, but fans should be cautious about their optimism. MMA is still a tough business, and the UFC put up very good numbers Saturday night in opposition (3.8 million viewers around 11:30, for the Anderson Silva fight). The issue is not good fights between good fighters. It's money. One respected, non-UFC promoter told me not too long ago that Fedor alone costs millions, and there are obviously other hurdles—well covered during the UFC and M-1 Global negotiations—involved with arguably the world's toughest guy. Bottom line: it takes a ton of money to put on a card like Affliction did. But the startup probably has to foot that bill for multiple, similar stacked cards to gain ground in this business. The question is: will investors pour money into this thing to see it through? Personally, I think it will be very difficult to put on, say, four of these kinds of cards. I'd say Affliction has a long road in front of it.
FRANKLIN IS ADDED TO UFC 88
Rich Franklin will fight Matt Hamill on the UFC 88 card. Franklin really has nowhere to go at 185 pounds, so a move to 205 makes sense. Not sure Hamill is a good matchup for Franklin, though. He's a tough, tough guy whose striking has improved immensely, and he's one of the better wrestlers in the UFC. He can probably hang with Franklin on his feet, and will have a big edge on the ground.
GSP IN CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS
MMAPayout.com has an interesting story about Georges St.-Pierre's negotiations with the UFC. Though he has only two fights left on his contract, the site mentions Zuffa's "Champion's Clause," which allows the UFC to automatically extend his deal for a year or three fights, so long as he holds a belt. That's a very weird rule, because money-wise, GSP might be better off as a free agent; as such, he'd better off without a championship.