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21 Humans Who Make Being Human Look Really, Really Hard

Tag: retirements

And Now He’s Retired: Chris Leben Walks Away After 11 Years of Rough-Neckin’


(Leben celebrates his knockout of Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132 in July 2011. It would be his last victory pose in the UFC. / Photo via Getty)

The last time we saw Chris Leben, he was telling his cornermen “I’m done” after a round’s worth of abuse by Uriah Hall at UFC 168. As it turns out, he wasn’t just done for the night — he was done, period. The TKO loss was Leben’s fourth straight defeat in the UFC, and it finally convinced him that there might be more to life than getting kicked in the head for a living.

On yesterday’s installment of The MMA Hour, Leben officially announced his retirement:

It’s been a fantastic, wonderful ride,” Leben said. “I’ve landed more strikes than anybody out there. Definitely highs and lows, ups and downs, but I think I’m starting to realize that, for me, it might be time to make that transition away from competing and get more on the coaching side of things.

After [UFC 168], I wanted to go back and re-evaluate things, make sure that the decision wasn’t based purely on emotion. That it was really what I wanted to do. And now, yes, I can say, I’ve really retired from competing in MMA…

I’m 33 years old now, which isn’t the oldest for a fighter. But like I tell people, it’s not how old you are, but it’s how long you’ve been doing it. And I’ve been doing this game for quite a while.

I’ve got a lot of years ahead of me. I would like to still have my head on my shoulders and have a brain when I’m raising kids and doing all the other stuff that I want to be part of. I think it might just be time for me to gracefully bow out.”

Leben, who recently took a job as a coach at Victory MMA & Fitness in San Diego, discussed how his fight against Uriah Hall was a harsh reminder that he’d gone as far in the sport as his skills would allow him, and could no longer be competitive on toughness alone:

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And Now She’s Retired: Julie Kedzie Hangs Up Her Gloves Following Loss at UFC Fight Night 33


(Kedzie — being gawked at by Gina Carano and Gary Shaw — in the good ‘ol bad days of women’s MMA. / Photo via George Ruiz)

When Julie Kedzie dropped a split-decision to Bethe Correia at UFC Fight Night 33, it marked her fourth-consecutive loss in MMA, dropping her lifetime record to 16-13. But even before the scores were read, Kedzie had made up her mind that she had reached the end of the road. Directly following the fight, Kedzie went on twitter to announce her retirement from MMA, after nearly ten years in the sport:

Before walking out to my fight today, I had a long talk with my coach and we decided that this would be my last MMA fight. I would have loved to have gone out on a win, but c’est la vie-don’t leave it to the judges. Heartbreak is a huge part of this sport. I really truly want to thank all of you for being a part of my journey as a fighter. I will still be involved in MMA for the rest of my life..but now it’s time for me to accept that I can give more to the sport by stepping back and taking role in helping to develop other fighters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to the @UFC, my team, and all of you who have made me achieve some amazing dreams.

Female bantamweight old-schoolers like Kedzie, Roxanne Modafferi, and Shayna Baszler have looked a step behind their more modern counterparts during their brief time featured in the UFC and on TUF, but it would be unfair to chalk it up to a lack of talent. What we’ve witnessed lately has been a generational changing-of-the-guard, in which the pioneers — who often start out one-dimensional, rounding out their games as they go along — are replaced by the young fighters who grew up with the sport.

Julie Kedzie began her career in 2004, when eight-person tournaments were still socially acceptable, before women’s MMA was readily available on television, and when there was virtually no incentive for a women to compete in MMA, other than the thrill of competition.

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Marcus Jones and Don Frye Have Had Enough of This Bullshit

Marcus Jones TUF 10 UFC MMA
("Waaaaaaaaahhhhh!")

Judging from his TUF 10 wins over Mike Wessel and Darrill Schoonover, and subsequent losses to Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione, Marcus "Big Baby Darkness" Jones looked like he was halfway to being a serious heavyweight threat. He had the size, power, and ground game, but his boxing skills and chin left a lot to be desired. Despite his late start in MMA, we figured Jones would return to American Top Team, shore up his striking, and return stronger than ever — especially since he always seemed very passionate about the sport. But according to Around the Octagon, there’s been a change of plans:

ATO has learned through a source close to Gracie Tampa that Marcus Jones has decided to retire from MMA after his loss at The Ultimate Fighter Finale…Jones started his MMA career very late after playing 7 years in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Bucs. He suffered several injuries while playing football that put him at a disadvantage as a fighter. Despite retiring, Jones hopes to stay involved in the sport and could go into broadcasting. Jones received a degree in communication at North Carolina.
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Big John Goes the Way of Couture, Sonoma :* (

BJM

You know that teleconference that “Big” John McCarthy is holding tomorrow? Let’s just say some of the suspense has been lost. Scoop-getter/thunder-stealer Kevin Iole at Yahoo! Sports has revealed that the 45-year-old ref is retiring after Saturday’s Ultimate Fighter finale, and is taking a job as an MMA analyst for The Fight Network. Stay tuned to find out if McCarthy’s decision to leave the UFC was spurred by a perceived lack of respect (a la Randy Couture) or if it was just about the money (a la Randy Couture).

I’m going to throw out a rumor now — you can take it or leave it. Dana White has been saying that the UFC is going to “shake things up” with the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, right? I’m thinkin’ sixteen referees living in a house, two coaches (Herb Dean and Steve Mazzagatti, obviously), and one six-figure contract. If you thought alcohol creates havoc when in the hands of young fighters, you haven’t seen what a pack of drunken refs can do. These guys love to drink. Upper-decking is how they normally use the toilet…

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