I have never been more scared then several years ago when I had to tell my loved ones that I was going to pretty much dedicate my life to the martial arts. This meant also informing my family that I would not attend law school, which was previously in my plans since high school. It was a pretty controversial decision to say the least. Even though there weren't defined career paths with this pursuit, it didn't matter to me. Being immersed in the martial arts was all I wanted to do.
Now I find it equally as difficult to say goodbye to a sport and lifestyle I loved. The reality is I have to retire. For the last several months I have tried repeatedly to return to my regular fight training schedule, but with little success.
Like most fighters I have battled injuries throughout my career. Plus, I have fought injured on several occasions. Normally, I am dedicated to training 2-3 times per day all year round. However, this latest injury involving my back has been extremely difficult to deal with. For no explained reasons, I experience days of excruciating pain, which prevents me or significantly limits my training activities.
If I'm not able to physically maintain an active training schedule then I don't want to put myself at risk in the Octagon. Just as importantly, I would never enter a fight knowing that I didn't undertake the necessary training commitment and put on a subpar performance in front of UFC fans who are expecting my best.
As I enter this decision to retire from fighting, there are so many people I need to thank for the success I have enjoyed in my mma and UFC careers.
Literally every person I have ever trained with has taught me something. I will highlight a few of the many important trainers I have worked with. My first BJJ instructor Roberto Maia is responsible for allowing me to practice an art that I fell in love with from watching the Gracie family compete. He created a limitless fountain of BJJ of which I could drink from that brought me to train in Brazil with the famed Gracie Barra family and the many other BJJ practitioners I have come into contact with. I am forever grateful.
My brother Keith Florian was my first training partner and a person I have logged thousands of hours training, fighting, sweating and bleeding with. His guidance and passion was unmatched and he is and was my best study partner.
In just a few short years Firas Zahabi became like a family member. His approach to MMA is unlike any other. He is 1/3 philosopher, 1/3 scientist and 1/3 General. Jonathan Chaimberg & Kyle Holland are also responsible for showing me the next level of strength and conditioning. Peter Welch, my boxing coach and one of the toughest men I have ever met opened up a whole world of boxing to me. I would also like to thank John Danaher of Renzo Gracie NYC. His knowledge inspires.
My future plans include working hard on my role as a TV MMA analyst for Fuel TV, FX and Fox. I will also be opening up another Florian Martial Arts Center in the Los Angeles area and will devote more time to teaching BJJ and MMA in both Boston and LA. Another goal is to mentor and coach a few MMA professional fighters.
My fighting career has really opened my eyes toward the many opportunities and ways in which we can enjoy healthier and more engaging lives. The world is filled with exciting possibilities. For KennyFlorian.com, I am developing a new blog format that explores people, places and things that can enrich us in a multitude of ways. When this new format is ready to be launched, I will update you.
I have to thank Dana White, the Fertitta brothers and the entire ZUFFA organization for allowing me to do what I love on the greatest stage in the world. Being with the UFC has done so much for me. In moving forward, I am fortunate to remain associated with them, working to promote this amazing organization and sport throughout the world. I will never forget that Dana and Craig Piligian took a big chance on a skinny kid from Boston to participate in the first season of The Ultimate Fighter.
I thank my management team. Ron Weinberg who has been with me for several years, helping me with pretty much everything. Authentic Sports Management with Glenn Robinson, Jon Rubenstein and Neal Tabachnick have been so helpful and supportive, can't thank them enough.
To the great fans of this sport and to my fans, I want to thank you for all of the kind messages and letters I have received over the years. From my hometown in Boston, to my family's native Peru and to my fans all over the world, you always gave me such great support and love. Thank you, muchas gracias and muito obrigado.
I never want to be an old guy telling people how the MMA game used to be. I am going to keep studying it incessantly so I can tell you how it will be. MMA is my life.
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