Following his unanimous decision win over Daniel Pineda at UFC 146, Mike Brown told Ariel Helwani that he was “getting near the end” of his mixed martial arts career, and that he would give himself two weeks to determine whether or not he would, or could, continue fighting. By the time those two weeks had come and gone, Brown had signed a five fight extension with the UFC. It was a hopeful sign for the former WEC featherweight champion, who had fallen on some hard times after reentering the UFC in 2011 only to suffer back-to-back decision losses.
Unfortunately, Brown’s next fight would see his original opponent, Akira Corassani, replaced by fellow TUF alum Steven Siler, who would in turn finish Brown with punches just under a minute into their preliminary card scrap at Fight Night 26. It was a fight I was personally on hand for, and one made all the more tough to watch as a big fan and follower of Brown’s 12 year career.
And now, it seems that Brown has finally decided to call it quits. Sort of.
In an interview with MMAJunkie published earlier today, Brown stated that he has decided to step away from the fighting aspect of MMA, but avoided using the big r-word in doing so.
I don’t think I’ll fight again,” Brown told MMAjunkie. “I haven’t retired, just in case, because I don’t want to be a guy who walks away and comes right back.”
It’s been an interesting road for the man who shockingly ended the Faber Era at WEC 36 back in 2008. After dethroning “The California Kid” that November night with what many considered a fluke TKO, Brown would validate the win with a dominant first round submission over Leonard Garcia and a dominate decision victory over Faber in their rematch at WEC 41 the following year. As bad luck would have it, Brown would be paired up with some guy named Jose Aldo in his next match, effectively ending his reign as the featherweight champion.
Brown would string together 4 wins beside 3 losses before the Siler fight, but it was the neck injury he suffered in the lead-up to his UFC on FOX 11-scheduled fight with Estevan Payan that finally forced him to accept the physical toll a decade-plus career had taken on his body:
I don’t think I’ll fight again. I haven’t retired, just in case, because I don’t want to be a guy who walks away and comes right back.
It’s hard when you’ve got only one hand that’s working properly. I can’t hold onto anything with my left. If I try to grab somebody’s wrist they can easily pull away because my strength is gone. Usually in a month or two, that strength comes back, but if I bang my head and get a stinger, it goes away again. It’s just continuously active.
His fighting career now in the rearview mirror, Brown says that he plans to focus on coaching over at American Top Team for now. With a 35 fight record that includes wins over Faber, Garcia, Mark Hominick, and Yves Edwards, it would be hard to say that he is under qualified for the gig.
Thanks for the memories, Mike.