Former Ultimate Fighter winner Mac Danzig retires from fighting

Mac Danzig becomes the fourth Ultimate Fighter winner to officially retire from MMA 

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Former Ultimate Fighter winner and MMA veteran since 2001, Mac Danzig has decided to call it a career by announcing his retirement in a public statement offered late Tuesday evening.

Danzig has been with the UFC since winning the reality show in 2007, and went on to amass a 5-8 record inside the Octagon with four post fight bonuses to his credit as well including three ‘Fight of the Night’ awards.

According to Danzig, it’s been nearly six years since he truly felt the passion for MMA at its fullest because long before he was in the UFC, the grizzled Pittsburgh native fought in numerous shows all over the globe including a brief stay in Pride Fighting Championships.

"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 wrote. "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.

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

— Mac Danzig 

"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 has been a mainstay of several high profile gyms in and around Los Angeles for the last several years while also raising a child and working on photography in his spare time.  While his true focus on MMA may have waned a bit since 2008, it didn’€™t mean Danzig didn’t go out every, single time he fought and leave it all inside the cage.

"The competition level that I reached is far beyond what I ever imagined being able to do when I first set out to be a fighter in the year 2000," Danzig said.  "That being said, in hindsight, my enthusiasm and motivation for competition definitely reached it’€™s peak around 2008 (after 7 years prior of toiling in the minor professional leagues) and it’€™s been an uphill battle ever since."

The other major factor that forced Danzig to take a step back and look at his career is after he suffered a few knockouts in the gym, and his once invincible chin started to show serious wear and tear.  Prior to a 2013 fight against Melvin Guillard, Danzig had only suffered one previous knockout in his career, but the final one served as a harsh wake up call to the changing anatomy and biology of his body and head.

The only physical cue for me to step back from competition came last year, when I began to suffer repeated concussions in training.

— Mac Danzig 

"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," Danzig said. "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 ‘€œtrain 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 ‘€œleft 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 retires from the sport with a 21-12-1 record overall. He becomes the fourth Ultimate Fighter winner to officially announce his retirement from the sport since the show began in 2005.