A day after getting eliminated from “Dancing With the Stars,” Chuck Liddell wasn’t so pleased with the professional judges who helped give him the boot.
“Screw those guys,” he said. “They don’t know what they’re talking about half the time, anyway.”
While Liddell was ousted from the popular prime time show, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship champ from San Luis Obispo simultaneously heard good news about his next gig — a role in an upcoming Mickey Rourke film.
“It’s a bigger movie,” Liddell said, adding that it was too early to reveal many details, but noting that the film had a strong cast.
Amid a flood of text messages from friends and family, Liddell spoke Wednesday about his experiences by telephone from Los Angeles, where he had been learning to dance since August. He survived into the fourth week of the show. But after he performed a two-step dance with partner Anna Trebunskaya on Monday night, the judges gave Liddell a low score of 17 out of 30 points. He was eliminated on Tuesday’s show.
Judge Bruno Tonioli’s marks melded criticism with praise.
“You bring carnage and mayhem to everything you do,” Tonioli told the Cal Poly graduate on air. “Yet, you still manage to make it look like a two-step.”
Fellow judge Len Goodman suggested Liddell was entertaining because he — as a fighter — was a novelty and not expected to dance well. But, he added, “Your quality of dancing isn’t there.”
The show eliminates celebrity dancers based on the judges’ scores and votes from the viewers. As a mixed martial arts fighter, Liddell said, he was at a disadvantage.
“My fan base is the complete opposite of this show,” he said. “We’re 18- to 35-year-old males — that’s my target demographic. That’s what I do well in.”
While attending a recent fighting event in Las Vegas, Liddell said, fans told him they hadn’t been watching the show and, hence, had not been voting. “A lot of people were like, ‘I don’t want to watch you dance — I want to watch you fight.’ ”
Still, Liddell treated the contest seriously throughout, working long hours with partner Trebunskaya.
“I didn’t lose for not working,” he said. “I worked hard. That’s one thing she was really happy about because I’d come in and work six hours with her, and then I’d go home and work.”
As the show progressed, Liddell offered updates for more than 18,000 people who followed him on Twitter, where he posted behind-the-scenes photos.
Liddell said he was mostly disappointed for his dance partner, who worked harder than many others on the show.
“She worked so hard with me,” he said. “I made her put in a lot of hours.”
From the beginning, Trebunskaya tried to get Liddell to loosen up. The toughest part of that was simply to get him to smile. In his first dance, Liddell struggled to keep a grin.
“It’s hard for me to fake smile,” he said. “I personally think I look stupid fake smiling.”
Trebunskaya’s husband, Jonathan Roberts, was eliminated in the second round with his assigned celebrity partner, singer Macy Gray. After that he helped his wife train Liddell.
“I’m going to give them a vacation for helping me out,” said Liddell, who also made friends with cast members Michael Irvin, Louie Vito and Donny Osmond.
“Donny was a great guy to hang around with,” he said. “I’m going to be in Vegas (today), and I’m going to check out his show.”
While he was critical of the judges — who he said were more celebrities than bona fide judges — Liddell was also critical of his dancing.
“I’m not complaining about my scores,” he said, acknowledging he lacked technical skills. “But them ragging on my two-step — and in the same manner Louie’s two-step -— none of them know how to judge a two-step. They don’t do the two-step.”
Liddell will begin shooting his film next month. While his role will be small, Rourke’s recent Academy Award nomination will give the film clout.
No word yet on whether Liddell will officially retire from fighting.
“I’m taking a little more time,” he said.