Though I’d been following the UFC for about a year through newsletters and the Internet, I hadn’t bought a PPV until UFC 43. I was a big Chuck Liddell fan, mostly because my co-worker Jeremiah Miller was a college buddy of Chuck’s. He gave me a signed poster that I still have today and I’ve been a big Liddell fan since. Jeremiah was even named in Chuck’s biography.
I remember buying this show mostly because my then wife was out of town on business and I had two toddlers to watch all weekend. When they went to sleep, I didn’t really have anything to do and figured that because I was a young dad home alone with his two young boys, I deserved to spend some money on an event. But also, I expected Chuck Liddell to win the interim light heavyweight championship in his match with Randy Couture and I wanted to see it happen. Let’s just say that I wasn’t a happy Chuck fan that night.
Couture wasn’t necessarily a set up for Liddell that night, but the fight was there for Chuck to win. Couture was a former heavyweight champion, but he was 38 years old and people were saying that he was now over the hill. He dieted down to make the 205 lb weight limit and looked to have nearly zero body fat. The reason Randy and Chuck were fighting rather than Chuck and Tito Ortiz (who was the champion at the time) was because Ortiz bailed on the fight. After beating Ken Shamrock (which was actually the first UFC PPV I ever saw), Tito seemed noncommittal about fighting Chuck after pretty much saying that he had to take care of Shamrock first and then he’d be ready. When push came to shove, Tito wasn’t there so Dana White and company decided to put Liddell in there with Couture to determine the interim champ. And then, Ortiz would have to face the winner.