The Word “Retirement” and its Diminishing Impact in the Fighting and Grappling World

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but there are a bunch of fighters who claim they are retiring, and then…. well, don’t. I could have sworn Gordon Ryan mentioned retirement at one point, but he’s recently competed (and then of course we all heard about the argument and slap afterwards) and I just had to look up how many times Conor McGregor retired, because it was certainly more than once.

So what gives? You could argue that they have a change of heart, I guess. I’m not totally sold on that explanation though: I have to wonder if more grapplers and fighters are “retiring” simply because they want to be more picky about the kinds of matches they engage in. Rather than a true admission to hanging it up and calling it a day, it has become a point of leverage for these competitors- they are technically “retired”, so you need to pay them or offer some sort of extra incentive to get them back on the mat. Obviously that may not be the case for everyone, but it is an interesting thought.

And really, I can’t blame them: whether it’s grappling or MMA, it’s not just the match itself that is taxing, it’s everything else that goes with it: the diet, the extra training and sparring, the supplementary strength and conditioning that goes with it. And if the reward of winning a match is not matching the effort and risk that go into it, then I can totally see why these athletes look for some kind of opportunity to take more control of their careers.

Unfortunately, the other side to this though is that when they claim retirement and then get back to competing, it then weakens the impact of someone else claiming retirement and really meaning it. As I mentioned, Conor McGregor -according to the internet- has “retired” at least twice now. When it comes time for him to truly retire and not come back, which is inevitable, are we going to believe him? I guess time will only tell.

Just some thoughts I wanted to share- have a great weekend!

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Filed under bjj, jiu jitsu

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