Former UFC featherweight title challenger Ricardo Lamas officially announces retirement

Ricardo Lamas
Image: Ricardo Lamas on Instagram (photographer not listed)

Former UFC featherweight title challenger Ricardo Lamas has officially announced his retirement.

Lamas teased his potential retirement from competition after his decision win over short-notice replacement opponent Bill Algeo late last month. On Monday, the former UFC featherweight title challenger made it official, and explained how a missing rosary helped him make his decision.

Lamas began by explaining why he always carries a rosary into the Octagon with him when he fights.

“If you watch me fight, you’ll know that I always carry a rosary with me to the weigh-ins and to the walkout, and I’ll give it to my corner or whatever,” Lamas told MMA Junkie Radio. “In 2009, one of my brothers passed away and he was living in Arizona at the time. So when we got the news, me, two of my brothers and my dad went out there to kind of gather his belongings, see him, kind of identify him and bring him back. … I was in this little store, kind of like a Native American store, and they had a bunch of rosaries – little wooden rosaries.

“So I picked one up, one for myself, one for each of my brothers, one for my dad, and one for my brother who had just passed away. At his wake, I had the priest bless all the rosaries, and I gave one to each of my brothers and we buried one with my brother. So that was kind of my way of bringing him with me to every fight, because he was really proud (of me).”

After his penultimate fight, a knockout loss to Calvin Kattar, Ricardo Lamas ended up misplacing his rosary. The loss of this precious item ultimately factored into his decision to hang up the gloves.

“After my last fight, because of my hospitalization, I was in the hospital, putting all my crap away. I misplaced the rosary,” Lamas said. “I didn’t know where it was, and I kind of forgot about it because I pretty much only bring it to fights. And I’m getting ready to leave for Miami, and because I had to go straight to Vegas from Miami, I’m getting everything ready to bring to the fight, like my flag, and I’m looking for the rosary. I’m tearing my house apart and my wife is helping me look, and I couldn’t find it anywhere and I’m like, ‘(Expletive).’

“So I just had to leave without it. And the other crazy thing is that my brother passed away on Aug. 28, 2009. The day of the weigh-ins was Aug. 28, and that night, I had made weight. So I’m on weight, I go to bed, I wake up about 3 a.m. just because I’m so thirsty, and I just start scrolling through Facebook and one of my brothers had posted a comment on my late brother’s memorial page, and I commented on it, and I just started scrolling through pictures of him and kind of talking to him in my head and saying, ‘I know I don’t need a rosary to know that you’re here with me, and please just watch over me just one more time. I just want one more win, and I’ll move on from the sport.’”

Amazingly, after deciding to compete in one last fight without his rosary, Lamas actually found it in his suitcase.

“So the next morning, I’m packing up my backpack, the backpack that I use every single day. I’m putting stuff in there, and the main pocket flapped open,” Lamas said. “On the inside of the main pocket is another pocket with a zipper. The zipper was cracked maybe half an inch, an inch, and I’m just sitting on the bed, and I glance over and look at the backpack and through that half-an-inch hole, I see a piece of the rosary in there. And I was like, ‘No (expletive) way.’ So I unzip it, stick my hand in and pull the rosary out and just started bursting out into tears.

“But after that happened, I knew something big was going to happen in this fight. One of my corners was staying with me, and I tried telling him about it and I couldn’t even talk. I kept getting choked up. I was crying, and then he started crying, so I’ve never had anything like that happen to me – if it was a coincidence … the same day that my brother passed away … a few hours before, I’m literally talking to him in my head and mention the rosary … I didn’t have it with me … and I think it was just his way of letting me know he was still there. So he kept his promise to watch over me, so I’ve got to stick by my word, and I’m going to hang up my gloves after that performance.”

Ricardo Lamas entered the MMA limelight as a member of the WEC roster, but achieved his biggest successes in the UFC. While he never captured the promotion’s featherweight title, losing a decision to Jose Aldo in his lone bid at that prize, he did pick up victories over top flight foes like Cub Swanson, Charles Oliveira, and Diego Sanchez.

Congratulations to Ricardo Lamas and his team on an incredible MMA career!