Top 10 ranked strawweight Claudia Gadelha raised eyebrows late last week when she announced that she was retiring from the sport at 33-years-old and she’s now revealed that suffering from post-concussion syndrome had led to her decision to hang up her gloves.
“I don’t want anybody to think that I’m sad because I’m very happy with what’s going on in my life right now,” Gadelha said during an Instagram Live Q&A to explain her retirement decision. “In November of 2020 after a fight I had a really bad concussion and I had a post-concussion syndrome, which is the symptoms of a concussion for a long period of time. So I suffered with the symptoms for a little while.
“It was very frustrating because my headaches were like a knife stabbing the back of my head. I was very nauseous, almost throwing up, feeling very, very bad. I couldn’t even go for a walk, couldn’t train, it was very frustrating.”
“I had to rush to the hospital in the beginning of my concussion twice,” Gadelha continued. “I ended up in the emergency room twice and I’m here in Las Vegas by myself and my family’s in Brazil, it was during COVID so I couldn’t fly to Brazil to go be with my family because it was like in the beginning of the concussion so I couldn’t fly and my parents couldn’t come here because of COVID. I had to spend a lot of time by myself during the concussion and that was very, very frustrating”.
It was clearly a traumatic time for the former strawweight title challenger and so it led to thoughts about whether she really wanted to continue competing.
“With that being said I started thinking about not fighting anymore. I had a lot of feelings of, ‘OK, I’m gonna go back, I’m gonna beat this time of my life and I’m gonna go back and fight,’ and then other times I would just feel like I shouldn’t be fighting anymore because I had so many other opportunities in life. I took a little bit more time and went back to the gym and tried to train and I started getting hit in the head and having anxiety from getting hit in the head and being afraid of going back to work where I was in the beginning of the concussion. I did a lot of brain treatments to get healthier and I was so afraid of going back to what it was and then a lot of other opportunities showed up in my life.”
Those opportunities include studying for a health, nutrition and performance program, while the UFC have enrolled her to help acclimatize Brazilian fighters to the U.S. including translating for them and offering advice about the business side of fighting.
“I decided to retire a couple of months back. I had a little flashback, like I’m gonna go back and fight, a few months ago I had that feeling that I was going to go back and fight again, but I was just not there anymore. How many fighters actually continue to fight and they do five, 10 more fights when they know that it’s already over? I don’t want to be one of those fighters. I just don’t feel like I belong there anymore. Fighting is not comfortable to start with, but I don’t feel good in the octagon anymore. I don’t feel happy there anymore and it makes me more happy today to help younger talents than me stepping in there and fighting and I feel like I conquered a lot of things in fighting in my life.”