The immediate reaction to my thoughts about both Scott Smith and Matt Lindland needing to retire is that Smith should get a pass as long as he goes back to Middleweight, but that yes, Matt should call it a career. I think an argument can be made for both. Smith suffered yet another brutal knockout in his career, this time at the hands of Paul Daley. Lindland also suffered a sub-one minute KO loss to Robbie Lawler who was in target practice mode the entire time. Given the relative weakness Scott Coker has displayed in the past in standing up to fighters, I expect both men to continue getting booked. Realistically, they shouldn’t be booked for any more bouts after tonight’s showing in St. Louis.
The accumulation of punishment that both Smith and Lindland have endured over the span of their MMA careers is remarkable. They should not get future bookings simply because watching them get knocked out is fun or entertaining. This is a violent sport and it’s a sport where fighters figure out the realities of their careers and health way too late after the fact when the damage is already done.
I get it. MMA writers, for the most part, shouldn’t think they are entitled to tell a fighter who puts his health on the line in a fight to be an arbiter as to when that fighter should hang up the gloves. However, the body of evidence for both Smith and Lindland to call it quits before they suffer permanent brain damage is mounting fast.
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In a post fight interview Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said of Scott retiring:
"I am going to sit down with (manager) Mike Roberts and Scott, and see what they want to do. That was a scary knock out. I am not saying he should retire. But I think he has to have a conversation and see what is he going to change, what is going to be different ... we're going to have to have a conversation "
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