With upcoming battles between MMA legends Quinton Rampage Jackson and Fedor Emelianenko in Bellator, and Tito Ortiz vs. Alberto Del Rio in Combate Americas, one must wonder if a retired fighter can ever truly hang up their gloves for good.
Emelianenko, 43, (38-6-1) and Jackson, 41, (38-13) will headline Bellator’s debut in Japan on December 29. Ortiz at 44-years-old with a record of (20-12-1) will battle 42-year-old Del Rio (9-5-0) in Hidalgo, Texas on December 7.
Most of us work day in and day out waiting for that day when we don’t have to do it anymore. We look forward to enjoying our golden years. One has to ask himself, what drives a fighter to continue on his path when age is creeping up on him or to come out of retirement for one last fight?
In a recent chat with The Scrap, Javier Mendez, founder and trainer at AKA, spoke of fighters being addicted to MMA. “The fight game is an addictive drug for a lot of fighters. They just don’t know when to quit”.
Mendez is currently busy training Daniel Cormier who is hungry to fight Stipe Miocic one more time. DC is a fierce competitor and he understands his need for redemption after his loss to Miocic in August.
“I understand that he can’t rest until he gets this one back or at least tries”.
A fighter’s life consists of constant training and always striving to be the best. It becomes part of who they are. It’s in their blood. They become addicted to the adrenaline rush, the high that comes from competition.
In a blog by Lyndon Whitlock, head striking coach at Para Bellum MMA in Oakville, ON., he states, “I’m a huge believer that fighters should retire once they no longer seek greatness, when they no longer have real ‘gold’ in mind.” It must be hard to come to that point when you are done. A fighter might feel he has one more win in him. He may feel like he gave it up too soon.
The fight game always has interesting twists and turns; however, one thing you can always count on is that fans love it when the legends return to action.
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The Scrap’s Caroline Romero is a journalism graduate and has 3 children involved in combat sport. Make sure to follow her son Simon Romero on his Behind The Grind podcast on YouTube.