Really, the only physical cue for me to step back from competition came last year, when I began to suffer repeated concussions in training, leading up to what would end up being my first ever actual knockout loss, in July. After that, my ability to take hard strikes in training without losing consciousness began to deteriorate rapidly.
Danzig, 34, won The Ultimate Fighter reality show in 2007, and had some nice wins in the Octagon over the years.
Danzig defeated Mark Bocek, Joe Stevenson, Efrain Escudero and others. However, he was knocked out cold by Melvin Guillard last July, and he hasn't been able to take hard strikes in training ever since.
"After 13 years of competing in MMA, and 7 years of competing in the world’s premiere high-level organizations, I have finally decided to retire from professional fighting," Danzig said. "This decision has been a long time coming, spawned by a myriad of reasons (I’ll touch on just a few here), and should come as no real surprise to most of you who have followed my career closely.
"Working for the UFC over the past 7 years has been a spectacular privilege, for which I am truly grateful. During dark times, even when some fans began to write me off, Joe Silva looked at my record for what it really was, not simply a numbers game, and continued to give me the opportunity to fight on the world stage for the best organization out there. This has been an awesome lesson in perseverance for me."
Danzig said he has seen other fighters stay in the game for too long, and he doesn't want to be like that. He wants to get out before his mind and body suffer too much.
Physically speaking, I have felt great from the neck-down throughout most all of my career, (with the exception of a few injuries here and there) so it was very hard to consider leaving when I knew my body would continue to perform amazing feats of endurance and skill, should I ask it to. Really, the only physical cue for me to step back from competition came last year, when I began to suffer repeated concussions in training, leading up to what would end up being my first ever actual knockout loss, in July. After that, my ability to take hard strikes in training without losing consciousness began to deteriorate rapidly. After 14 years of training and taking shots like a champ, my brain was finally telling me to chill out. I was never the type of fighter to "train stupid", but sparring was always something I partook in at full throttle. I truly feel that the damage was done in the gym over the past decade, and hundreds of hard sparring sessions have accumulated, leading me to the situation I find myself in now. Certainly, some of my performances throughout the years in which I had fallen short can be directly attributed to the idea that I "left it all in the gym." I would like to serve as an example for the up and coming fighters of the world and hopefully encourage smarter training practices that include less sustained trauma in training camp, leading to a longer, healthier career and better performances in the ring.
Danzig is now a father, so he's also trying to do what is best for his kids.
"As a parent, I must take into consideration how important my sustained brain function is and how tragic it would be to have Parkinsons, Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc," Danzig said. "Nobody ever forced me, I chose to be a fighter and I have no regrets about what has already transpired thus far, but I must make the right decision for the future. This was never a concern for me until I became a father. And fighting, to me, had never seemed even the slightest bit dangerous until the past year. That is a good sign for me to bow out."