(Photo courtesy of Sherdog)
After over ten years as a professional mixed martial artist, UFC/WEC veteran Mark “The Machine” Hominick has retired from the sport, with a career record of 20-12. The news was announced by Hominick himself on yesterday’s edition of UFC Tonight (which is co-anchored by Leeann Tweeden now? Huh.) As Hominick explained:
“I have a young daughter, I have another daughter on the way, and I think that’s the next phase of my life, to put focus into that. Moving forward, I’m always going to be involved in this sport, this is my passion, this is what fuels me, but I think…I haven’t been able to make the same kind of sacrifices that got me to the title fight with Aldo, and I think it’s more important for me to focus on that, and again, moving on with my life as a part of mixed martial arts from the outside, I guess.”
An Ontario native and disciple of the late trainer Shawn Tompkins, Hominick first built his name in the Canadian organizations UCC and TKO, holding titles for both promotions, and earning nine victories, all by stoppage. In March 2006, Hominick was called up to the UFC for its “USA vs. Canada” card, and did his country proud by submitting Yves Edwards by triangle-armbar in the opening fight of the pay-per-view broadcast. Though a natural featherweight, Hominick won his next lightweight match in the UFC as well, out-pointing Jorge Gurgel at Ultimate Fight Night 5.
Hominick then returned to the 145-pound division and spent the next four years competing for TKO, Affliction, and the WEC — as usual, making it a point to fire off a set of push-ups in the center of the ring immediately following every match in which he wasn’t choked out or knocked cold. For an otherwise soft-spoken, non-descript-looking Canadian dude, it was Hominick’s most dramatic statement of identity, a non-verbal way of telling his opponent and the crowd that he could do this all night if he had to.
In 2010, Hominick won three straight WEC fights against Bryan Caraway, Yves Jabouin, and Leonard Garcia, which secured his entry into the UFC’s brand-new featherweight division. At first, everything went according to plan: Hominick scored a first-round TKO against George Roop at Fight for the Troops 2 in his UFC featherweight debut, earning a title shot against Jose Aldo in the process. And that’s when things began to fall apart.
Despite a heroic fifth-round effort against the champ, Hominick lost a crushing decision to Aldo at UFC 129 last April, leaving the cage with one of the most horrific hematomas in the history of the sport. Nevertheless, Hominick remembers the night as the greatest moment of his UFC career (!), telling UFC Tonight:
“Even though it was a loss, that fight really put me on the map. To me, it almost felt like a 15-year overnight success. You compete for so many years, almost in obscurity, and no one gets to watch, and all of a sudden I was fighting in front of 55,000 people in front of my home province for the world title, and I really put on a performance that really put me on the map as far as the mixed martial arts world. So that’s something I’ll always cherish, and I really got to show who I was as a man, as a fighter, and as a person in that ring that night.”
Four months later, Mark’s beloved coach Shawn Tompkins passed away of a heart-attack at the age of 37. Since then, many fans have speculated about the effect that the loss must have had on Hominick’s mindset and focus. Tompkins’s death became a convenient explanation for Hominick’s final three UFC performances — his freakish seven-second TKO loss to Chan Sung Jung last December and his subsequent decision losses to Eddie Yagin and Pablo Garza this year, all of which were considered significant upsets. But Hominick doesn’t see it that way:
“Losing Shawn was a definite blow to all of us at Team Tompkins, but to me it almost motivated me because I wanted to go out there and prove that we were gonna carry on his name and his tradition and his legacy, for what he did for us…That’s not a reason that I can point at. I think it’s just time for me to focus on the next part of my life.”
It’s tough to see a great competitor like Mark Hominick go out on the worst losing streak of his career, but it’s certainly better than the alternative — desperately trying to stay in the game when it’s no longer a benefit to your health or your family. So thank you, Mark, for a thrilling career, and best wishes for the future. We’ll be doing push-ups today in your honor.