Kurt Pellegrino copy” src=”http://www.cagepotato.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Kurt-Pellegrino-copy.jpg” alt=” width=”500″ height=”313″ />
(“At least I’ve still got my modelling career.”)
Remember when Kurt Pellegrino said he would retire if he lost to George Sotiropoulos at UFC 116 and then decided that because he was injured in the bout and came close to finishing G-Sots in the closing minutes, he was taking a do-over on his vow?
Well, it looks like Pellegrino made the same pledge to himself prior to his UFC 128 fight with Gleison Tibau as ‘Batman’ announced today via his personal website that he has opted to not sign a new contract with the UFC following back-to-back losses in the Octagon. Instead, the 16-6 Point Pleasant, NJ lightweight who is 7-5 in the UFC says he will shift his focus to his jiu-jitsu students and on improving his jiu-jitsu, wrestling and boxing skills for if and when he decides to make a return to fighting.
“Over my most recent fights I have come to the realization that at this point I no longer can, nor want to make fighting my first priority. Never in my career have I lost two fights in a row and my last fight’s decision in particular was especially hard for me to swallow to be honest. Even last year when i was on a 4 fight win streak I still was questioning myself. This has made me reconsider what my next step will be competitively. I have spoken at length with Joe Silva about my decision and have decided not to renew my contract with the UFC.
I want to take the time to regroup, refocus, and rethink what it is that I want to do going forward. I want to do things that I enjoy right now and refresh my mind. I want to concentrate on my BJJ game and improve it. I want to work on my boxing game and improve that also. I’d like to compete in some grappling tournaments again like the old days and maybe even try my hand at a pro boxing fight.
I want to have fun training again, bottom line.”
Considering his fight with Tibau was so close that it ended in a split decision, an announcement of this magnitude seems at first glance like it may have been a hastily made decision, but according to Pellegrino he has been contemplating it for the past two-and-a-half months since the bout and a big part of the decision wasn’t necessarily fighting-related.
“My daughter is four years old and I can’t tell you how much of her life I’ve missed dedicating my life to training for fights. I did so willingly and I’ve made a lucrative career with the UFC, but I’m not sure I could ever say any amount of money was worth it. My wife and I just welcomed a baby boy and I can’t bear the thought of missing as much of his ‘firsts’ as I did my daughter’s.”
Although he mentions that there is still the possibility that he may return to fight one day down the road, Pellegrino said that if not he’s ready for the next chapter of his life, which will undoubtedly see him involved in the sport in some capacity.
“It is bitter sweet to possibly end my career on a loss and something I will have to deal with on my own, but overall it has been a rewarding 11 years for me and I want the end to be on my terms and no one else’s. Its hard to make a decision like this, but I feel its best for me to step away for now and time will tell what the future will bring for me. I don’t want to retire, but I need to find myself and find my love for this sport again.
I am very proud of what I have accomplished over the past eleven years in this sport. I was able to do all the things that I set out to do, which includes achieving a black belt in brazilian jiu jitsu, competing in the world championship Abu Dhabi tournament, and fighting all over the world including Japan and of course in the top MMA organization in the world, the UFC, for five years and 12 fights. Of those twelve fights I was awarded five ‘Fight of the Night’ and ‘Submission of the Night’ honors and for that I am proud.
There are so many people I owe so much to I can’t begin to name them all. Thank you to Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, and Joe Silva for the opportunity to fight in the best organization in the world for all these years. Thank you to all my coaches, training partners, my agent, my sponsors, and my students for their support. And thank you to my family, especially my wife for her undying love and encouragement all these years.
Hopefully you will see me in the cage again, but if not thanks to everyone for the memories, its been an awesome ride.”
Does anyone else smell a jackass-like reality show in Kurt’s future?