When it was announced earlier today that Ariel Helwani would be hosting a special edition of The MMA Hour in which “a former champion, and one of the most popular names in the sport, will make a special announcement,” speculation began to light up the interwebs like it was a Simi Valley fireworks show. Was Brock Lesnar announcing his return to the sport? Was Bellator dumb enough to actually buy into Tito Ortiz’s “almost healthy” bait-n-switch? WAS ANDERSON SILVA ABOUT TO RETIRE?!
Simply put; no (thank God), not yet, and are you fucking kidding me? It turns out that the “former champion” is question was actually former WEC light heavyweight champ Brian Stann, who shockingly announced his retirement from the sport following his second round KO loss to Wanderlei Silva at UFC on FUEL 8 last March. Citing a new daughter on the way (his third) as well as a concern for long term injuries related to not only his MMA career but his military career and previous football experience among his reasons for calling it quits, Stann was typically composed and grateful, ensuring Helwani that “I leave fighting having taken more from mixed martial arts than I ever gave.”
When asked if his loss to Silva played any role in his decision, Stann was unapologetic and incredibly straightforward. “Yes, it did….when I lost that fight and I looked at all the time I invested in it, I knew it was time.”
Although his final clash ended in defeat, it’s hard to imagine a better fight for “all-American” to go out on then his epic slugfest with “The Axe Murderer.” The fight encapsulated everything we’ve come to know and love about both Stann and Silva, and was the first highlight that Stann listed when prompted by Helwani.
Fighting in Japan in a main event against Wanderlei Silva, who I remember looking up on the internet when I was in the Marines, was pretty cool. When I look back now I’m like ‘Man. Never in a million years did I think I was gonna fight that guy in a main event in Japan. Never.’
In addition to his future role providing analysis for ACC college football on Fox Sports South, Stann assured Helwani that he would continue to work with the UFC, both behind-the-scenes and at his regular pundit gigs on FOX and FUEL TV.
Share your favorite Stann moments or just wish him the best of luck in the comments section, Nation.