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Greatness / Mediocrity / Dignity / Retirement

Ben Fowlkes over at talks about UFC88 and why no one gives a shit. See, I’m not the only negative nelly around here. His argument goes something like this: the card is stacked with older guys trying to stay relevant against the new dudes. I agree with that assessment, but here’s one thing that peeved me off:

Franklin, who moves up in weight in an attempt to revitalize his career as a 205-pounder, made the best choice. If he can’t beat Matt Hamill on Saturday, though, that glimmer of hope will also fade, leaving him with a choice between retirement and a steady fall from mediocrity. Neither road is appealing, but at least one is more dignified.

I really don’t get this shit. Why is it that when you’ve achieved greatness, anything less is grounds for retirement? We’ve seen it many times with many guys over the years: Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, Tito Ortiz. They go from being the absolute greatest to simply great and all of a sudden everyone starts talking about how they should retire and save themselves the embarrassment of being outclassed by the next generation.

I say fuck that. I don’t give a shit if Matt Hughes is no longer the most dominant welterweight out there. I still wanna see him fight Diego Sanchez and Karo Parisyan. I still want Rich Franklin vs Dan Henderson sooner or later. Simply put, there is still room for these guys in the game after they’re no longer the top dogs.

MMA is growing and changing really quickly, and many title reigns are measured in months as opposed to years. Are fans really only interested in the fighters who are on top or on their way up? Personally, I don’t give a shit if a fighter is going up or down. I want to see good matchups.

There are cases where you can say retirement is a more dignified route. If you’re naught but a shadow of your former ass-kicking self and you’re getting absolutely mauled in the cage time after time, then it may be more dignified to stand down and call it quits. Ken. But most of the time, it’s not.