(The announcement, via MMAWeeklyVideos)
Last night following the TUF Live Finale weigh-ins at the Pearl Theater at The Palms in Las Vegas, seven-year UFC veteran Kenny Florian announced his retirement from the sport. The affable fan-favorite had compiled a 12-5 record in the Octagon with seven of his wins by rear-naked choke, and was the only fighter in UFC history to compete in four weight classes, starting with his entry as a middleweight on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. His greatest success came as a lightweight, where he spent the majority of his career, scoring victories over top competition like Joe Lauzon, Roger Huerta, Joe Stevenson, Clay Guida, and Takanori Gomi, and competing for the lightweight title twice. Most recently, he made a run at the featherweight belt, losing a unanimous decision to Jose Aldo at UFC 136. Here’s how he explained his decision to walk away:
“I’ve dealt with injuries in the past, and back in November I was back into training and hurt my back working out, and it just hasn’t quite been the same. Been dealing with it, been trying to get back and doing rehab and things like that, and a few weeks ago I kind of re-injured it again. So it’s been tough, man, I haven’t been able to train, and I’ve always been that person, I don’t want to do anything half-assed. If I’m going to train for a fight, if I’m going to train doing what I’m doing, I want to be able to do it 100%, and if I’m not able to do those things, I can’t really do it. So it’s been several months, it’s been very, very hard. Your identity becomes what you do, and it’s been tough.”
Florian will continue to pursue a broadcasting career, including commentary work for UFC events on FUEL and FOX. He’ll also be opening a gym in the L.A. area in soon, and even mentioned starting a blog as one of the interests he’ll pursue in the future. (Which makes him a direct competitor now. You just made the biggest mistake of your life, buddy.)
Send Kenny some love on twitter @kennyflorian, and honor his memory by splitting somebody’s face open with razor-sharp hellbows. Below: Our favorite Ken-Flo highlight reel ever, which happens to be a joint highlight-reel with Frank Shamrock, but it’s still amazing.
(Props: Genghis Con on Vimeo)