Pellegrino: If I make it past the new year, I’ll never fight again

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I am writing to let everyone know where I stand as far my fighting career goes. At this time I am choosing to take some time off and step away from the sport as a fighter.

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. Never in my career have I lost two fights in a row and my last fight’s decision in particular was especially hard for me to swallow to be honest. Even last year when i was on a 4 fight win streak I still was questioning myself. This has made me reconsider what my next step will be competitively. 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 take the time to regroup, refocus, and rethink what it is that I want to do going forward. I want to do things that I enjoy right now and refresh my mind. I want to concentrate on my BJJ game and improve it. I want to work on my boxing game and improve that also. I’d like to compete in some grappling tournaments again like the old days and maybe even try my hand at a pro boxing fight.

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.

I’m looking forward to dedicating more of my time to my academy which we’ve just expanded to 9000 square feet. I have almost 300 students and a professional and amateur fight team that I am excited to give more of my time to them, they deserve it.

I’m also looking forward to keeping involved in the MMA community and giving back to the sport that has given me so much. I have been able to book many seminars this summer and I am excited to meet fellow martial artists all over the world and help them in a small way to chase their fighting dreams. There are also a few business opportunities for me personally that I would like to pursue, but was unable to do so because of training and fighting. I just want to take this time to focus on some other things in my life and see if I get the itch to fight again.

I am very proud of what I have accomplished over the past eleven years in this sport. I was able to do all the things that I set out to do, which includes achieving a black belt in brazilian jiu jitsu, competing in the world championship Abu Dhabi tournament, and fighting all over the world including Japan and of course in the top MMA organization in the world, the UFC, for five years and 12 fights. Of those twelve fights I was awarded five ‘Fight of the Night’ and ‘Submission of the Night’ honors and for that I am proud.

There are so many people I owe so much to I can’t begin to name them all. Thank you to Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, and Joe Silva for the opportunity to fight in the best organization in the world for all these years. Thank you to all my coaches, training partners, my agent, my sponsors, and my students for their support. And thank you to my family, especially my wife for her undying love and encouragement all these years.

It is bitter sweet to possibly end my career on a loss and something I will have to deal with on my own, but overall it has been a rewarding 11 years for me and I want the end to be on my terms and no one else’s. Its hard to make a decision like this, but I feel its best for me to step away for now and time will tell what the future will bring for me. I don’t want to retire, but I need to find myself and find my love for this sport again.

Hopefully you will see me in the cage again, but if not thanks to everyone for the memories, its been an awesome ride.

I’ll still be funny as hell on twitter so follow me! #classickurt

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Pellegrino expanded on the situation in an interview with MMAJunkie Radio.

“I couldn’t train for a fight now if my life depended on it.”

“If I make it past the new year, I’ll never fight again.”

“Me retiring has nothing to do with losing to Gleison Tibau whatsoever. Tibau is one of the most fearsome fighters in the UFC. The guy could fight at 185. Even if he kicked my butt up and down the octagon, I was still going to do what I was going to do.”

“(The UFC) have helped me so much. They’re the reason I was able to buy a house, and a car, and have kids. If it wasn’t for their organization, I wouldn’t be talking to you guys today.”

“Even if I was fighting in the local show down here, Ring of Combat, I would still tell the promoter that I can’t fight right now. My head’s not into fighting. And if you’re head’s not into fighting, how would you fight in that show, let alone the UFC?”

“Let other people get their face beat in for a little bit. (I’ll) see if I miss it. Right now, I don’t miss it.”

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