Over a nearly five year span, Kurt 'Batman' Pellegrino Pellegrino fought 12 times in the UFC, going 7-5. When a four fight win streak was ended by George Sotiropoulos, and the following fight was a close decision lose to Gleison Tibau, Pellegrino retired.
Over my most recent fights I have come to the realization that at this point I no longer can, nor want to make fighting my first priority, Pellegrino said. "...I have spoken at length with Joe Silva about my decision and have decided not to renew my contract with the UFC."
"I want to have fun training again, bottom line. Most importantly I want to spend more time with my family. My daughter is four years old and I can’t tell you how much of her life I’ve missed dedicating my life to training for fights. I did so willingly and I’ve made a lucrative career with the UFC, but I’m not sure I could ever say any amount of money was worth it. My wife and I just welcomed a baby boy and I can’t bear the thought of missing as much of his ‘firsts’ as I did my daughters."
His retirement left room for a return, and about five months later, Pellegrino is back, with Bellator, fighting Patricky "Pitbull" Freire tomorrow night on MYV2.
Below Pellegrino discusses the decision.
"Wrestling made me who I am today," he said. "I'm 32-years-old and I've been on a diet since I was 12. I retired, and then I said, 'You can't take the stripes off a tiger that fast,' so here I am fighting again.
"If it wasn't for wrestling I wouldn't be talking to you right now. I'd be working a regular job, no doubt about it."
"I thought I sucked," Pellegrino said of his post retirement skills. "I thought I wasn't good. But since I retired I've been beating guys up and I can't see how I can lose right now. If I am going to end my career and retire, it has to end how I want it, and I don't want to retire. I am doing this on my own terms."
"I'm getting into this sport because the vision quest I've always had for myself ended with me being on top. I have to know if I have something left or if it's over, and I don't believe it's over. I had a serious leg injury in my last two fights before I retired and that's how I want to be remembered.
"If I lose, I want to know I was 100 percent, and I'm definitely 100 percent going into this fight with Patricky. I can't end my vision quest knowing in the back of my mind that if my knee wasn't hurt and I hadn't taken a year off, then I would have beat those guys. I need to prove it to myself and beat the crap out of Patricky. When I'm healthy, I don't feel like there's anyone that can beat me."
"It drove me nuts sitting on the couch and not having my hand raised recently. I've been having dreams of getting my hand raised and it's been making me insane, so I'm just going to make those dreams a reality."
"I have no excuses in this fight with Patricky. I believe in my heart that I am going to walk right through Patricky. I already see my hand being raised. I've been visualizing it and dreaming about it. There's no way I'm losing this fight. Everyone says it, but it's all about proving it on fight day, and I can't wait to get out there and prove it.
"I have 15 minutes, and Patricky "Pitbull" is not better than me in that 15 minutes. I'm looking at this fight like I have 15 minutes for the rest of my life. Is he that good to where he can stop me in these 15 minutes and take away everything I've worked so hard for? I don't think so."
"I am fighting for me. I'm fighting to prove to myself that a 32-year-old guy still has it."
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