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HomeSportMatt Brown shed a tear after telling UFC he was retiring: ‘A piece of you dies’

Matt Brown shed a tear after telling UFC he was retiring: ‘A piece of you dies’

by News7

Matt Brown was 90 minutes into his daughter’s double-header soccer game this past Saturday when he realized he hadn’t posted anything on social media in a while.

That’s when he decided to inform the world that he was retiring from combat sports after spending nearly 16 years in the UFC.

“I thought, ‘I think I need a social media post … how about I make a retirement post?’ I did it right then,” Brown revealed on The Fighter vs. The Writer.

“I just didn’t think anything of it. I was like, I’m just doing a social media post. Maybe it’s because it’s been on my mind pretty heavily. To me, I’m like, ‘I’m just doing another social media post.’ It turns out that was a pretty big post. My phone just blew the f*ck up. It was really surreal. You don’t realize how many people care about you and how many lives you’ve touched and how many people you’ve inspired.”

Brown announcing the news of his retirement may have come at a moment’s notice, but he’s actually been contemplating the end of his career for quite some time.

In fact, Brown informed UFC of his plans a few months ago but struggled to actually go public with it, because to the outside world, his entire identity was tied to fighting.

“I thought about today, going and making another post saying, ‘Psyche bitches, I’m coming back, fighting in six weeks! F*ck ya’ll, thanks for the attention!’” Brown said with a laugh. “But I thought about it for a long time. I’m very clear on it.

“The reason that it took so long for me to announce it, the reason it took so long for me to call the UFC, was just a courage thing. A piece of you dies, and you’ve got to break off that identity somehow, and it was just growing the balls to do that. It’s not an easy thing.”

The real genesis of Brown’s retirement tracks back to a fight offer that came from UFC a few months back. Usually, Brown can’t wait to get that call or receive an email from the matchmakers offering him an opponent.

This time around, however, the 43-year-old veteran felt something much different.

“They actually offered me a fight a few months back, and that was exactly when I knew,” Brown explained. “I got the email, and when I got the email, the first thing that crossed my mind was, ‘I could use that money.’ But I didn’t get that chill running down my spine. I didn’t take a deep breath like ‘here we f*cking go, baby!’

“Back in the day, when I would get that call — and it was usually really quick after a previous fight — my fingers would tingle. I’d usually go straight to the gym right then. It could be 10 o’clock at night and like, ‘I’m going to the track and I’m going to do some sprints. I’m ready to f*cking go.’ I would always over-train the first few weeks. I would go until I was run the f*ck down, and then, OK, slow down and build myself back up. With that said, the feeling wasn’t the same as before. The priorities change.”

When that same charge didn’t hit him like a lightning bolt and Brown knew it was time to hang up his gloves for good, he finally reached out to the UFC through matchmaker Sean Shelby to inform the organization of his decision.

The initial reaction he received wasn’t all that surprising given Brown’s dedication to MMA — and his attitude, which made it feel as if Brown may just keep fighting until someone forced him to stop. When Brown finally uttered those fateful words, he was unexpectedly overwhelmed with emotion.

“They were shocked, actually,” Brown said of telling UFC that he was retiring. “I only talked to one person, but he was like, ‘What’s going on? What’s wrong?’ He thought I broke my back or something in a car accident. They were shocked too. I think I was shocked.

“When I first called Sean Shelby and told him, ‘I’m pretty sure this is what I’m going to do,’ I was at an airport at the time. This was a few months ago and I think he returned my call, which is why I was at an airport. I remember sitting there in line getting ready to board the plane and there’s people all over, it was LAX, I still remember — I shed a little tear.

“I was like, ‘Damn, I can’t be crying in front of people. What if someone recognizes me?’ It hurt bad. It was set in my mind. I didn’t have any real feelings about it until I actually said it. I hung up the phone and I shed a motherf*cking tear. I guess I do have tears in there somewhere. It was very similar [on Saturday] when I posted that. It’s like, damn, it’s f*cking over. It’s surreal. It’s hard to believe because a piece of you dies.”

Beyond not feeling that same chill down his spine when he got a fight offer, Brown confessed that a lot of other factors played into his decision to call it a career.

Being more “present” for his three children played a part. Brown has also started several new businesses in recent years, including a house-flipping venture that just got up and running in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

He also runs Immortal Martial Arts Center, a gym Brown opened six years ago, however he’s never built the facility to its full capacity because his own career was still the primary focus.

That can finally change now that he’s no longer fighting, and Brown says he’s excited for what comes next now that he can put his full attention on something else.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize how much more I am than [fighting],” Brown said. “I have a lot more pieces to me. I’m much smarter than that. Fighting is a huge part of me and I’m a fighter in everything that I do, but I just love fighting. I have a true, serious passion for it. There’s nothing that I love more than getting into a fist fight, or elbow fighting even better with someone, or Muay Thai all together. There’s nothing I love more than that. But there’s so much more to me that I have never really expressed. I feel like that’s my season of life now.”

Of course, Brown acknowledges the jokes about MMA retirements and how they never seem to stick. UFC legend Jose Aldo proved that just this past weekend when he returned to action at UFC 301 less than two years after ending his MMA career.

Because he informed the UFC of his retirement, Brown was removed from the promotion’s anti-doping program, so that’s at least one step he’s taken to prove this wasn’t just a snap decision. But he knows he’ll never completely forget about fighting again, because that’s almost an impossibility, especially for somebody who competed at his level of the sport.

It’s the same raw emotion that almost certainly hits other retired fighters like Daniel Cormier and Michael Bisping, who seem resolved and happy in their new careers but the desire to compete again never goes away.

“Fighting is a drug, 1,000 percent,” Brown said. “It’s an addiction and that high that you get like when you do cocaine for the first time, and then you’re chasing that high for the rest of the night, and then into the morning and then maybe the next afternoon. That can be a big downward spiral. That’s what happens in fighting. You’re just chasing that. You know you’ve got it in you to get back to where you once were, your former glory. But do you really have it in you? You constantly think you do because you do great in the gym or you’re feeling great, all these different things. But you’re constantly chasing that high again.

“It’s kind of setting in that this is real. It’s hard to imagine that I’m going to go on in this life and not fight again. I thought I was going to fight forever too!”

Source : MMAFighting

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