In an unexpected announcement at last night’s UFC 160 post-fight press conference, UFC legend Forrest Griffin announced his retirement from the sport.
Speaking to the assembled media, Griffin indicated that being injury-jinxed in the latter stages of his career together with advice from Dana White lead him to the decision to hang up his gloves.
“When Dana White says retire, you should retire, otherwise you will blow your knee out for your next fight,” Griffin said.
“Two of my last three fights I’ve pulled out due to injury. How many fights can you pull out of before you become an unsecure product? I wouldn’t invest in me at this point.”
Griffin had been expected to fight Chael Sonnen back in December, but that fight was scratched when Sonnen was offered the chance to coach TUF 17.
He was then lined up with Phil Davis instead, but had to withdraw from the fight after suffering both an MCL and ACL strain.
That means that he retires on a victory in his third fight with Tito Ortiz back in the summer of last year, which took his career record to 19-7.
Griffin may have walked into the Octagon for the last time, but UFC president Dana White confirmed last night that he’ll have a job for life with the promotion.
“He will have some role, some title, and hopefully he will work more than Chuck Liddell,” White quipped.
““Forrest Griffin has been a huge star for us. Anytime we’ve ever needed Forrest Griffin, he’s been there for us. He will be here and will stay with this company at least for the rest of my life.”
As for what that may entail, Griffin indicated he’d like to get involved in donating his time to charity work.
“The UFC does a lot of charity stuff locally and for the troops. I’ve always said that I’m going to volunteer, but I’ve always had to train for [a] fight, so I [said I would] do it later. Well, now is later.”
I must say I wasn’t expecting him to retire, but even if it might seem that 33 is a little young to be doing so I whole-heartedly support his decision.
His injuries were certainly becoming problematic, but also I felt that his chin had weakened considerably over the years after adopting a crowd-pleasing fighting style that often involved taking several punches to the face in order to land some of his own in return.
While that lead to some classic encounters, including the most famous fight in UFC history at the TUF 1 Finale against Stephen Bonnar, it’s also taken it’s toll and I felt he was starting to head down the same road as Chuck Liddell in that he could be putting his long-term health at risk.
The reality is that Griffin had nothing left to prove anyway. He’s already ensured that he’ll earn ‘Hall Of Fame’ status, he’s one of the most instantly recognizable fighters in the sport, he won the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and completed the fairy tale when he won the light-heavyweight title against Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson.
Now he gets to leave on his own terms off the back of a victory, a respectable recent 3-1 run, and a 10-5 record overall in the UFC.
Of course it’s sad to see him go, but I think it’s a smart move and wish him a long and happy retirement.