One of the greatest of all time and possibly the most recognizable name in MMA, Forrest Griffin, retired from Mixed Martial Arts earlier this year. Griffin, known best for his epic three round war with Stephan Bonnar at the TUF Season 1 Finale, and grueling battles with greats like Anderson Silva, “Rampage” Jackson, and “Shogun” Rua, says that after 26 fights his body just can’t take it any more.
Griffin has definitely made his mark on the sport being crowned the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion in 2008 and, this past summer, being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. However, after the years have gone by his body just isn’t what it used to be, and the former champ finds himself in an unfamiliar position as simply a spectator.
Although Forrest is coming off of a victory over rival Tito Ortiz he told “The MMA Hour” that he’s been denying the inevitable for some time now.
“I physically can’t (come back). I didn’t want to be done, in the beginning. When I announced my retirement, that was actually when I was trying to come back and I realized, it just wasn’t viable. It passed me by. My shoulder is done. I brush my teeth with my left hand now. That’s just the way it goes. I can’t shoot a basketball; I can’t throw any kind of ball. I was right handed. The last three years, I was kinda fighting with one arm, on and off. My training camp was, I don’t want to call it Frank Mir style, but it was Frank Mir style. It’s like; I’m going to work on whatever hurts the least today. What are we doing today? Well, what’s not broken today? That’s what we’re going to do today.”
Forrest continues to work for the UFC and has recently been giving his time an efforts in supporting another venture by the company in promoting HIV awareness to those under 30 within the Gay and Lesbian Center in Southern Nevada with the “Protect Yourself At All Times” program.
However, Forrest makes in clear to all up and coming fighters that they may not be so lucky as to become a full-time employee of The Ultimate Fighting Championship, and urges fighters to always have a contingency plan.
“I think if you’ve fought more than three fights in the UFC and you’re not financially ahead, you’re either doing something wrong or you just need to quit. Your first two fights, your first two camps, yeah, you’re going to maybe even go into debt on those. But if you’ve had two or three wins and you’re still not finding ways to get financially ahead, you might just do something else. Realistically, if you’re doing it right, you should have time during a camp or during life to engage and learn another skill set. An occupational therapist, a physical therapist, an MRI tech. It’ll never be as great as fighting, realistically. I wouldn’t tell somebody who’s 22, ‘Hey, it’s just as good of a job. Checking people into the hospital [instead of] fighting, it’s going to feel the exact same.’ Nothing is going to feel like fighting again. But it’s going to feel better than looking around and wondering, ‘Okay, what do I do now?’”
Forrest finishes his career with a 10-5 record. His victories coming at the expense of former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich “Ace” Franklin, Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Shogun” Rua, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champ Tito Ortiz not once, but twice, and most notably stripping the UFC Light Heavyweight title from Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. And although many fighters have claimed retirement and have been seen to return to the Octagon, Forrest will not be one of them.