Far too often, an athlete will stick around past his or her prime, clinging to the idea that he or she can still dominate if given the opportunity. While this isn’t exclusive to mixed martial arts by any means, it’s especially notable in the sport. Fighters are practically bred to believe that when they’re losing, it’s just because they’re in a rut, and when they snap the losing streak, it’s a sign that things are going right for them again. Our acceptance, and often encouragement, of this idea only makes it easier for the fighters themselves to accept it. The end result is usually cringing after watching an older, slower fighter suffer yet another vicious knockout in a half empty arena known for housing a minor league sports team.
Fortunately, Jorge Rivera knows his limits as an athlete, and has officially retired from our sport. He first announced his intention to retire, regardless of the outcome of his fight with Eric “Red” Shafer, on Friday’s edition of MMAJunkie.com radio. After punching out Shafer in the second round of their undercard tilt last night, Rivera made the move official to announcer Jon Anik.
It’s fitting that Jorge Rivera would retire in a manner similar to Chris Lytle’s retirement, as both fighters had similar careers. Much like Lytle, Rivera was a fan favorite known for his exciting finishes, even though he was a mid-level fighter throughout his career. Jorge Rivera had three runs in the UFC- including a spot on The Ultimate Fighter Four- and finished with an 8-7 record in the promotion (20-9 overall).
A fighter in and out of the cage, Jorge Rivera is a military veteran who still volunteers to visit and train with soldiers overseas. Also, in 2008, his oldest daughter, Jessica, died after a reaction to her medication. Despite nearly retiring from the sport after her death, Rivera went on to win three straight fights against Nissen Osterneck, Rob Kimmons and Nate Quarry.
In celebration of Rivera’s recent string of off camera antics, we’ve posted two of our favorites, as well as an interview filmed after last night’s event. Enjoy.
The Tale of Count Bisping
Jorge Rivera being So Vain