Chuck Liddell understands why so many people are seething with anger right now.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion was certainly horrified after watching the video where George Floyd, 46, was murdered after Minnesota police pinned him to the ground and kept one knee on the neck until he finally dies after repeating several times that he could not breathe.
Following Floyd’s tragic death, protests began across the United States and, while most were peaceful, many others sparked riots. Numerous stores and businesses have been vandalized and clashes have taken place between protesters, police and business owners.
The UFC Hall of Fame found itself in the midst of an escalation in Huntington Beach, California this past weekend where it decided to intervene and prevent a volatile dispute from become violent.
“I’m all for protesting,” said Liddell in an interview with MMA Fighting on Monday. “You want to protest, whether I believe what you do or not, I support your right to protest. These [protests], I get it. I think anyone who has watched [the George Floyd video], it’s hard to watch.
“I hadn’t heard what happened at the start, then I see it and I looked at it like” wait, guys, put your knee out of it “and at that time, I didn’t know that ‘He was dead. Look at them like are they going to stop? Nobody will say anything? I look at him in disbelief. So I understand anger, but violence breeds violence. It will not solve anything. I just did my best to keep people safe. “
According to Liddell, he has lived in Huntington Beach for the past few weeks while repairs are underway in his home after a hose burst in his kitchen.
After hearing about the nearby violent protest, the former 205-pound champion and a friend went downstairs to see what was going on and it was then that Liddell decided he should be involved.
“I went down to see what was going on and try to keep the peace a little,” said Liddell. “Try to keep people equal. I was able to talk to some people and heard crazy stuff from all sides. It was crazy.
“I understand that people were there to defend their city. They didn’t want their city to be destroyed on this. They did not want people to come from outside the city and wreak havoc in the city. It was one of those savage situations where there were bullies trying to target the easy targets. Not necessarily the big fat guy who looks tough enough. They tend to intimidate the little guy. They tend to go after people. I can’t watch this. ”
Many celebrities participated in protests, including actress Tessa Thompson, who documented the experience on her Instagram, as well as Halsey, who filmed police officers shooting rubber bullets at a crowd.
For Liddell, he simply could not sit idly by and see an unfortunate situation become life-threatening, particularly following a tragedy which he believed should bring people together for a common cause.
“I got there to see what was going on and I couldn’t leave,” said Liddell. “I had to help and try to help people on both sides. I wanted to help people in their business and the people who were there to express their opinion, nor did I want to see them get hurt.
“Many of these companies [being vandalized], they are on your side. They don’t hurt people who hurt you. ”
If there is one message that Liddell wanted to convey, it is that he fully understands why so many people are upset, but the escalation of violence is not going to help anyone.
“I know people are angry,” said Liddell. “Hatred does not fight hate. You must love. Perpetuating more violence and more violence is not a good thing. “