The MMA rumor had been floating for months, so the announcement last Wednesday that Chuck Liddell and longtime rival Tito Ortiz would be headlining another fight card came as little surprise to any fight fan. The shock, however, for the “Iceman” was when movie producers earlier this year revealed that he and the “Huntington Beach Badboy” would be sharing a movie marquee together.
In an unlikely movie tandem which makes an interesting preliminary to their scheduled Nov. 24 bout at the Forum in Inglewood, CA, the two MMA icons “teamed up” as co-stars in the independent action thriller “Silencer,” which will be available digitally and on demand Sept. 4 and on Blu-Ray Sept. 18.
“I thought [the producers] were joking,” Liddell, the legendary former UFC light-heavyweight champion and now actor admitted. “When they showed me the movie poster, I thought they just superimposed [Tito’s] face onto it to get a reaction from me. Then when they told me they were serious, I was, like, ‘Oh no.’”
Any chances of any backstage beatdowns between the fighters never materialized as the two never actually filmed any scenes together, according to Liddell. But even if the two fight icons had to share the stage, the odds of any unsanctioned battles would’ve been slim, especially not with a payday down the road.
“I don’t like the guy,” Liddell says of Ortiz. “But we’re professionals. If we had to work together to get the film done, we would’ve made it work.”
“Silencer” is about a retired military sniper (Johnny Messner) who has to fight his way across the U.S.-Mexico border to save his daughter, who has been kidnapped by a drug cartel. In it, Liddell plays Nelson “Nils” Salvatore, a bodyguard to a Mexican drug kingpin (Danny Trejo). According to Liddell, Nils is a cocky, disgruntled, smartass, unsatisfied with what he does and shares his frustration with those surrounding him.
“He’s a punk,” Liddell says bluntly.
Liddell is used to being the toughest guy in a room, both he and Ortiz had to defer to Trejo, the veteran tough-guy actor, as the film’s biggest badass. “That was awesome, working face to face with Danny,” Liddell says. “We were able to pick each other’s brains on acting on fighting. It was fun.”
Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz: Now an MMA and movie rivalry
Before MMA became “Notorious” under bad boy Conor McGregor, the UFC went through an “Ice Age” in the early 2000s. Liddell, along with Ortiz and Randy Couture, were the faces that helped put the fight league on the map. and more than a decade since they last fought, Liddell and Ortiz will square off for the third time, with the Iceman winning both bouts by knockout. “Training is going great now,” Liddell says. “It’s the best shape I’ve been in in a long time.”
And even though they didn’t share any scenes or trade any blows during filming of “Silencer,” Liddell threw one jab when it came to who won the battle of the big screen.
“Tito couldn’t even pronounce the word Mexico during the film, on more than one occasion,” says Liddell, who also has an MMA film “A Violent Man,” coming out in December. “That alone makes me the better actor.”