Iole: End retirement/farewell fights


The secret to a long life,
Is knowing when it's time to go
-MIchelle Shocked

If age and time grind down your ability in Tennis, it's Love-40. If you lose it in fighting, it's your ass.

The best boxer of his generation, Floyd Mayweather Jr., discussed retirement on Saturday, after narrowly defeating challenger Marco Maidana.

"I have a life after boxing," said Mayweather. "He has a life after boxing. This is already a brutal sport. Of course we're here to please the fans, but what about our health when boxing is over?

"Half of the boxers who are in the fight game now can't articulate well. So do we care about the fighters' health? You're always asking the questions, 'Why did this guy die? Why is he in the hospital?'"

In yet another remarkable essay, Kevin Iole looks at the question in general, and specifically at the highly respected, admired, even loved Pat Barry, who was knocked out for the third time in a row on Saturday night at Glory 16.

Much is still to be learned about injuries to the brain, but one thing that has been established beyond a doubt is that a person with a history of concussions is more susceptible to them.

This isn't good for his long-term health, clearly. No fighting sport is "safe," and there is considerable risk involved. But part of the appeal of the sport, both for the spectators and, in a lot of cases, the competitors, is seeing them deal with that risk.

A grappling match is far safer for those involved than a slugfest that ends with a violent knockout, but the public doesn't care for them nearly as much and often boos loudly when a fight hits the ground. That's frequently true even when the ground battle is captivating.

A fighter like Barry is beloved because of his willingness to take and deliver concussive blows, consequences be damned, for the sake of entertainment. The fact that he's a clever, witty guy who doesn't take himself too seriously simply increases his appeal.

The risks of fighting are great, even under the best of circumstances. But when fighters are aging and beginning to repeatedly get knocked out, the risk increases exponentially: The more knockouts, the more serious the risk in the next outing.

Retirement or so-called farewell fights should also be outlawed, because if a fighter isn't fit to compete, then it makes no sense to go out and get kicked and punched in the head again in order to say goodbye.

Many fight on because they have no other source of income and have no idea what else to do with their lives. Fighting is all they know.

Neither Barry nor Nogueira will be forced to retire, no matter how much some may urge them.

They'll have to decide that for themselves.

Hopefully, they have the ability to assess their situations in a clear-headed, responsible manner.

If they don't have that ability, it's already way too late.

Read entire article...

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Recent Comments »

Decimated site profile image  

5/9/14 4:04 AM by Decimated

i hate when people use the argument "Well, you're not a [doctor, fighter, etc] so therefore you have no right to give an opinion on the subject."  Then shut down the underground because a low % are fighters, and i wonder if any doctors lurk here. 1) The cop used excessive force...but you can't say anything cuz you're not a cop.  2) A politician was thrown in jail?  Well, are you a politician? Well, no, so don't say a word...  3) a plane crashed...well, are you a pilot?  DUHHH That's bullshit reasoning.  Anyone can make an opinion, and the more facts someone uses, the better.  The writer had every right to do his article.  Maybe it goes against a "tough guy MMA fan "  mindframe, and sounds "gay" because it prescribes caution, foresight, and knowing when to stop a dangerous activity.    

B_Goetz site profile image  

5/8/14 6:34 PM by B_Goetz

Chris Lytle had a retirement fight, and beat the hell out of Dan Hardy. Depends on the fighter and the situation.

Brian J DSouza site profile image  

5/8/14 5:55 PM by Brian J DSouza

No disrespect, but the UFC wants GSP & Andy back no matter how much damage they absorb. Just like they are working with BJ, who has nothing to prove.

Glovegate site profile image  

5/8/14 2:42 PM by Glovegate

Yes.The UFC doesn't want its fighters to be stars, it wants the brand to be the draw.When the GSPs Andys are gone, they'll have what they want. A promotion full of TUF unknowns, with no negotiating power, fighting for scraps.

bubkusjones site profile image  

5/8/14 1:31 PM by bubkusjones

Not everyone's reason for retiring is the same. Some retire to avoid long term injuries/disabilities, some retire once symptoms start to present, some retire only after everyone and their mom forces them to realize that they're beyond the onset of symptoms. Look at Chris Lytle, or Randy Couture. Neither seem to be suffering from any significant problems from their fight careers. Would any of you have denied them their final fights? Chris ended his career (not counting a potential bout against RJJ) on an amazing win. Randy, while he may have been KO'd, was able to fight in front of the largest crowd the UFC has ever seen at UFC 129. Whether a fighter should have a "retirement" fight should be taken on a fighter by fighter basis, taking into account their fight history, their health and their reasons for retiring. There shouldn't be any sweeping generalizations that "all fighters must..."

BshMstr site profile image  

5/8/14 11:31 AM by BshMstr

i guess i don't like retirement fights for other reasons...if i was a competitor, would i take it easier on an opponent that was getting ready to retire? maybe...i was annoyed when GSP retired after fighting Hendricks, but that had a lot to do with (in my opinion) the horrible judging and my desire to see a definitive conclusion. GSP has always put forth 100% effort and deserves his retirement.i don't like to see guys fight when they are clearly no longer competitive. i think one thing to prevent this, is to encourage various MMA organizations to teach these guys to save/invest their winnings (i believe the NFL and other sports organizations do this0, and to help increase fighter base pay, so they don't need to keep fighting when they are no longer with it...

Kirik site profile image  

5/7/14 12:11 PM by Kirik

CTE is not most unfortunately not nearly understood well enough for there to be standards when ACs refuse to license. So a fighter getting licensed to fight means very little.

john joe site profile image  

5/7/14 10:48 AM by john joe

i really feel this way about peter aertsi heard a horrible story about him from my dutch friends recently. He was in the house sat on the couch in a towel and said to his mrs, "i might go and get a shower" and she said, "but peter you just had a shower, thats why youre wearing a towel"that was from the proverbial "source close to the person" and ive no doubt of its veracity. Very very worrying to hear something like that.

sacredhate site profile image  

5/7/14 10:43 AM by sacredhate

nothing wrong with the retirement fight concept.Chael has said that a fight with Vitor would round out his career...hence, be a retirement that really such a terrible idea, that a fighter shares that they will retire after the next x number of bouts allowing an organization to make that fighters last fights as meaningful to all parties as possible?

sacredhate site profile image  

5/7/14 10:40 AM by sacredhate

I think forcing fighters into retirement reasons is fine, but if they are medically cleared to fight and the bout is sanctioned than what the fuck is the problem really?Imagine someone being able to force you to retire because they don't think you have it in you any more. bullshit.I do believe that there is room for improving the criteria for being medically cleared to fight, and that maybe, just maybe the criteria should look at lifetime damage and injury as opposed to just a snapshot in time, but i'm not sure how one would go about it.