Liddell won't alter late-night ways

JOSE RODRIGUEZ

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

Don't be surprised to see foggy webshots of Ultimate Fighting Championship poster boy Chuck (The Iceman) Liddell clubbing the night away in the hours before his next scrap.

Liddell, who has been criticized in the past for his rock-star lifestyle, says he doesn't intend to break with a tradition that brought him seven consecutive wins -- four of those title defences.

"I haven't changed anything I do before a fight in a long time," says Liddell, arguably still the UFC's highest profile fighter. "I go out, I drink water and I sit there until 2:30 or three. I don't sleep until three or four, and that doesn't matter whether I'm in a hotel room or wherever I'm at.

"I don't drink for a month before fight night and I probably drink two or three times in the three months before a fight."

Liddell came under fire after pictures of him enjoying some of Sin City's hottest nightspots in the days leading up to his May loss against Quinton (Rampage) Jackson found their way on to the web and Vegas gossip columns.

"I don't think that had anything to do with it. I was in great shape and I was prepared for the fight," Liddell says. "He had a good fight, I didn't. I'm not going to make any excuses."

Liddell hopes to begin his ascent back to the top of the light-heavyweight ranks on Sept. 22, when he takes on Keith (Dean of Mean) Jardine in UFC 76 in Anaheim.

Both fighters are coming off knockout losses and both are known for their stand-and-trade approach to the sport.

Some pundits have criticized the UFC for serving up Jardine as a stepping stone for Liddell's climb back to belt contention and have pointed to the fact highly touted light-heavyweight Mauricio (Shogun) Rua is making his UFC debut on the same card.

Liddell says he will fight anyone they put in front of him and this time it happens to be Jardine.

He also says he is not looking past his Sept. 22 fight to the host of Pride Fighting Championship scrappers who have recently signed with the UFC or a rematch with Jackson.

"Right now, I'm concentrating on Keith," Liddell says. "I think it's going to be a great fight for the fans. We're both going to stand out there and throw punches at each other."

- Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban -- owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and HDNet television -- has entered the mixed martial arts game. Cuban announced the creation of HDNet Fights, a mixed martial arts promotion that will air on his network. Cuban has appointed former UFC fighter Guy Mezger as commissioner of the fight club and plans to host his first event Oct. 13 in Dallas.

- You know you've arrived when... UFC heavyweight champ Randy Couture will be featured on A&E's Biography series, The Fight Network is reporting.

- England's Michael (The Count) Bisping's controversial split-decision win at UFC 75 over Matt Hammill isn't sitting well with fight fans. After being dominated for three rounds (my humble opinion) Bisping got the judges' nod and then went on to brag about his effort. Bisping, a fan favourite, later recanted on his website saying Hammill fought a good fight but he has, no doubt, lost fans for his lack of class.

- Spike TV drew a staggering 4.7 million viewers for last Saturday's UFC 75, making it the most-watched UFC event ever. The fight card drew more men between 18 and 49 than anything else on television including U.S. college football, NASCAR and the U.S. Open women's tennis final.

- For the latest in mixed-martial-arts news log on to The Scrapyard blog at canoe.ca.


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