Former UFC Champion Matt Serra Explains the ‘High’ That Keeps Fighters from Retiring
Last week, former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra reticently discussed his retirement from the sport of mixed martial arts. Monday, on ‘The MMA Hour,’ Serra explained in a little more detail his rational for announcing his retirement when he did, and he discussed the desire that keeps older fighters hanging around the sport for years after their prime.
After suffering two blood clots in his arm and one in his lungs, Matt Serra underwent surgery to remove a rib that was constricting blood flow. He is now recovering from that surgery and taking blood thinners to prevent another clot. It was discussing all of these medical issues with a friend when Matt Serra unexpectedly- even to himself- announced his retirement.
“I was talking to my buddy Mark and he wanted to do a story about how I was feeling at that the word was out about my health. So it started with me and him just bulls***ting because I know the guy, and then it turned into kid of like my retirement piece. And it’s cool, listen, it’s all good because I meant everything I said and, you know, it’s not like I set out to do that. It wasn’t my mission that day to wake up and say, ‘You know what, today I walk away.’”
Serra also said on Monday that part of him still wanted, and continues to want, that one last fight. It’s a ‘high,’ as he explains, that attracts fighters to continue competing.
“Let me tell you,” said Serra, “it was always the plan to do one more at least. But, you don’t want to just do it to do it. Like, if I watch UFC and I see something, I’m like, ‘F*** man, I miss that.’ The feeling is, like you all of these guys, well some, not all of these guys, especially like the real warriors man, they stick around a lot of time longer than they should. It’s not even about the attention, it’s not about that. It’s that feeling of fighting in there. It’s really something, man. That’s why I think fighters, you know, post-fighting they turn to drugs and they turn to this and turn to that because they are missing something. They need that high, you know what I mean? It’s such a high. Like when you win or have a battle in there…”
Matt Serra’s retirement comes shortly before he turns 39. After winning The Ultimate Fighter 4: The Comeback, Serra went on to win the UFC welterweight belt by upsetting Georges St. Pierre with a first round TKO at UFC 69. Though he may not compete in mixed martial arts, Serra owns and operates two Brazilian jiu jitsu academies in New York.
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