We’ve spoken before on https://mmainsight.com about former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye’s interest in the sport of MMA – he trained in karate in his youth under the tutelage of his father, has also dabbled in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has been spotted at UFC events in the past, including striking up a friendship with Dana White while cage-side at UFC 120 in the UK last year.
He’s also hinted in the past that he would consider competing in the UFC, and that could now become a reality as news emerges today that Haye is expected to announce his retirement from boxing later this week.
The Telegraph reports that Haye wrote a letter to the Boxing Board Of Control to inform him of his decision and it’s anticipated they’ll accept on Wednesday.
Haye had always vowed to retire on his 31st birthday (13th October), and it seems he’ll make good on that promise.
Having said that he would still have until December to change his mind before his boxing license came to an end so this could just be a publicity stunt.
The 30 year-old compiled a 23-2 record in the sport, but despite winning the WBA heavyweight title by defeating the giant Nikolai Valuev and then defending it twice against John Ruiz and Audley Harrison, he came up short in his biggest challenge against Wladimir Klitschko back in July.
In a 2008 interview Haye stated that, “Once my boxing career is over, in two or three years, MMA is definitely something I’ll look to jump into with both hands and feet. “
Haye was spotted training at the UFC gym in Las Vegas back in September and one of his most recent messages on Twitter urges his fans to check out the new MMA based movie ‘Warrior’.
With his boxing pedigree, athleticism, previous training in martial arts, not to mention the fact that he’s a master at hyping fights, Haye would undoubtedly be a major addition to the UFC’s heavyweight ranks.
Personally, despite the retirement talk I could still see him trying to angle for a fight with Vitali Klitschko before he hangs up his gloves for good, but nonetheless it’ll be interesting to watch how this story unfolds in the coming weeks.
Update: Seems my hunch was correct. According to Sky Sports, “Klitschko’s promoter Bernd Boente has revealed that he is in negotiations with the Haye camp about a heavyweight world title clash in February or March next year. Haye’s letter to the Board of Control may either have been a ploy to gain extra leverage in negotiating that fight, or simply a case of him making good on his previous declaration that he would retire at the age of 31 even though he has no intention of really hanging up his gloves permanently.
Update 2: Despite doubts over how long it will last Haye did in fact confirm his retirement on Thursday.
“As the clock struck 12 last night my boxing career came to an end. It has been my intention to retire from boxing on this day ever since I first laced up my gloves as a skinny 10-year-old,” Haye confirmed in a written statement.
Elsewhere he appeared to indicate that MMA is not his first priority now that his boxing career is over.
“I plan to kick-start an acting career in the new year and will continue to train and stay in the best possible physical shape.”