(Photo via Getty)
UFC lightweight Mac Danzig announced his retirement from MMA yesterday, after a 12-year professional career marked by a King of the Cage title reign, a dominant run on The Ultimate Fighter, and inconsistent performances in the Octagon. Danzig most recently competed at UFC on FOX 9 in December, where he lost a unanimous decision to Joe Lauzon. It was Danzig’s third consecutive defeat, and dropped his official UFC record to 5-8.
Considering how disillusioned he’d become with the sport, Danzig’s decision to walk away shouldn’t come as a surprise. The 34-year-old explained his decision on his tumblr blog, citing recent concussions and loss of motivation as his primary reasons for leaving. Here are some excerpts:
It has been a long, amazing, arduous, thrilling, painful, depressing, spectacular, self-realizing, worthwhile struggle of a journey, for which I have no regrets. I have accomplished a lot in the sport, especially thanks to the many opportunities the UFC has given me. The competition level that I reached is far beyond what I ever imagined being able to do when I first set out to be a fighter in the year 2000. That being said, in hindsight, my enthusiasm and motivation for competition definitely reached it’s peak around 2008 (after 7 years prior of toiling in the minor professional leagues) and it’s been an uphill battle ever since.
I really have been struggling the past few years with contemplating retirement. And with it in the back of my mind, my performance has suffered. Only those closest to me know about this. A true fighter never wants to give it up. The will to compete dies hard. I have had to teach myself that intelligently stepping away does not equal “giving up”.
When you slow down in most other sports, whether due to injury or lack of passion, usually you can still preserve your personal dignity and your physical brain, and keep working hard until you truly know it’s time to leave, but that’s not always the case in MMA.