Chuck Liddell to compete on 'Dancing With the Stars'

UFC Hall of Famer will be first MMA celebrity to appear on the show
2009-08-17T09:25:00Z Chuck Liddell to compete on 'Dancing With the Stars'MATT ERICKSON, matt.erickson@nwi.com, (219) 933-3275 nwitimes.com

The first crossover star in mixed martial arts history will really be crossing over this fall.

Former UFC light heavyweight champion and UFC Hall of Famer Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell will be a contestant on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

Liddell will be one of 16 celebrities on the series, which pairs a star with a professional dancer. The teams compete each week in different dance styles and are eliminated from the popular show based on a combination of judges scores and fan voting.

In past seasons, athletes like NFL Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith; NBA Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler; boxers Evander Holyfield and Laila Ali; and Olympic champions Maurice Greene and Shawn Johnson have competed on the show. Johnson was last season's champion.

But Liddell will become the first mixed martial arts fighter to show his dance moves on the series.

"I want to win," Liddell said in a story on UFC.com. "I don't like losing in anything, so I'l work as hard as they'll let me."

Liddell said the producers of the show have asked him several times to appear on the show, but his fighting schedule never allowed for it. But after his TKO loss to Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in April, Liddell has been inactive -- "retired," according to UFC president Dana White, though Liddell hasn't said he's ready to fully hang up the gloves and White has even waffled on whether he'd be willing to let him fight again.

Liddell won't be the only athlete on the next season, which debuts Monday, Sept. 21. Former Dallas Cowboys star receiver Michael Irvin will be a contestant, as will X-Games snowboarder Louie Vito and Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin, who in 2008 became the first American female athlete to win six medals in one Olympic Games.

Joining Liddell, Irvin, Vito and Coughlin as celebrity dancers will be: supermodels Joanna Krupa and Kathy Ireland; actresses Melissa Joan Hart and Debi Mazar; former teen idol Donny Osmond; singers Macy Gray, Mya and Aaron Carter; former House Majority leader Tom Delay; actor and "Iron Chef" star Mark Decascos, who himself has a martial arts background; standup comic Ashley Hamilton, son of actor George Hamilton; and singer Kelly Osbourne, daughter of Ozzy Osbourne.

"I'm gonna go out, be myself, and show what kind of people we do have in this sport," Liddell told UFC.com. "I'm sure the reaction will be mixed (among fight fans). My friends are gonna be excited and I'll never hear the end of it because they'll make fun of me, but it should be fun and I think everyone will like it."

For more on "Dancing With the Stars," see the show's official Web site.

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