Lightweight Mac Danzig has called it a career after nearly thirteen years as an MMA fighter and over six years in the UFC. The former Ultimate Fighter winner released a statement on his Tumblr blog yesterday announcing his retirement from fighting.
The well-conditioned, well-rounded and always exciting fighter had lost three straight bouts before deciding to retire. Danzig, now a father, cited increased brain trauma sustained in training the past few years as the major reason for his deciding to hang up his gloves.
"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.
Physically speaking, I have felt great from the neck-down throughout most all of my career, (with the exception of a few injuries here and there) so it was very hard to consider leaving when I knew my body would continue to perform amazing feats of endurance and skill, should I ask it to. Really, the only physical cue for me to step back from competition came last year, when I began to suffer repeated concussions in training, leading up to what would end up being my first ever actual knockout loss, in July. After that, my ability to take hard strikes in training without losing consciousness began to deteriorate rapidly. After 14 years of training and taking shots like a champ, my brain was finally telling me to chill out. I was never the type of fighter to “train stupid”, but sparring was always something I partook in at full throttle. I truly feel that the damage was done in the gym over the past decade, and hundreds of hard sparring sessions have accumulated, leading me to the situation I find myself in now. Certainly, some of my performances throughout the years in which I had fallen short can be directly attributed to the idea that I 'left it all in the gym.' I would like to serve as an example for the up and coming fighters of the world and hopefully encourage smarter training practices that include less sustained trauma in training camp, leading to a longer, healthier career and better performances in the ring.
As a parent, I must take into consideration how important my sustained brain function is and how tragic it would be to have Parkinsons, Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc. Nobody ever forced me, I chose to be a fighter and I have no regrets about what has already transpired thus far, but I must make the right decision for the future. This was never a concern for me until I became a father. And fighting, to me, had never seemed even the slightest bit dangerous until the past year. That is a good sign for me to bow out. As a hardcore fan, I have seen far too many people in the sports of MMA and boxing let themselves stay in far too long. Legacies get tarnished and the body pays for it as well. Part of me wants to fight forever, but I feel I am making the right decision."
To read Danzig's full blog post, visit his Tumblr page.
The 34 year old Danzig ends his fighting career with a professional record of 21-12. The animal rights activist and part-time photographer also wrote that he hopes to continue coaching and to be involved in some way with the UFC organization.
"I have been lucky enough to leave my mark, compete for millions and inspire many people during my fighting career," Danzig went on.
"That positive energy has always reflected back and resonated throughout me. Thank you for being a part of this. The continuation starts now."
We've enjoyed watching Mac Danzig compete for our entertainment all these years and we wish him the best as he writes new chapters in his life's book.