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Roxy, Gray Maynard, Josh Koscheck and the “Must Retire” List of 2013

Roxy, Gray Maynard, Josh Koscheck and the “Must Retire” List of 2013

Somewhere around Chuck Liddell’s 32nd brain-altering concussion, I transitioned from ardent MMA nut-hugger to sober realist, and began seeing just how much brain trauma these fighters subject themselves to for the sake of sport. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching fights in the cage, and I know full well that these athletes willingly accept these risks as part and parcel of the whole “shed blood for a living” thing. So this isn’t me speaking out against the ills of unarmed combat, nor is it me asking for everyone to join hands and sing “Kumbayah” in the name of all the grey matter that’s leaked out onto the Octagon floor. Heck no. It is, however, me broaching the subject of expiration dates, and how, like that carton of 2% milk sitting in your fridge, each and every one of the warriors we watch set foot in the cage must at some point call it quits.

That’s right. I’m talking about the “Must Retire” list of 2013.

Now, before you get your panties in a bunch, let me lay out my beliefs. I believe that every fighter should have the right to choose when their fistic journey is over – until they prove that they’re too stupid (or brain-addled, or punch drunk, or Phil Baroni) to know when the ride is done. In those instances, someone else should make that decision for them. (Fun fact: the first time the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board took away the license of an MMA fighter they deemed as sucking too much for his own good was in 2004.) I’m also a firm believer in second chances, and third chances, and fourth chances, etc., until the threshold of fighter safety vs. fighter making himself retarded is reached. Then it’s “sorry, bro, no more chances. You’re going to either die or become the intellectual equivalent of a cucumber, and that won’t be fun to watch.”

Here, then, is the list of those who should hang up the gloves. Some of them are great fighters who’ve lost that thing that made them special and elite and almost superhuman. Some of them could still beat the majority of the fighters out there, and could probably earn some sort of paycheck on the regional MMA scene, which might help them make a mortgage payment, but would do nothing to assuage the tears that come when they try to recall Dana White’s loving embrace but only remember Yves Lavigne standing over them saying, “Mon dieu, il est mort.”

  • Roxanne Modafferi - I am not Ryan Harkness. I know that, you know that, everyone knows that. I do love Roxy as a person and as a fighter, just like Ryan does. However, unlike Ryan, I am not her cheerleader, and I think her time has passed. She, like so many of her contemporaries, kept the female side of MMA alive when no one gave a shit about even the male side of the sport. But the likable girl that gets into the cage now is a shadow of the girl who took on Laura D’Auguste and Tara LaRosa (two fights I watched from ringside). You think Sarah Kaufman and Jessica Rakoczy could have slammed Roxy unconscious if they fought the 2008 version of her? Hells naw. Roxy accomplished a lifelong goal by fighting in the UFC on Saturday. Now it’s time for her to stop fighting and maybe do some coaching or something.
  • Gray Maynard - Yeah, he’s still a tough dude with a lot to offer, but it’s getting easier and easier to flick his “off” switch, and that’s an alarming thing to see. Remember how Matt Hughes got towards the end? Maynard needs to take a lengthy sabbatical and grow those brain cells back, or he needs to call it quits.
  • Josh Koscheck - See Gray Maynard. Koscheck has accomplished a lot, so there’s no shame in taking an indefinite break.
  • Nate Marquardt - Apparently, when you go off TRT, Father Time catches up to you and kicks you square in the nuts.
  • Yves Edwards - Sure, Edwards has still got skills, but he’s 0-3 in 2013. Add to that the fact that he’s got 64 fights to his record and has been competing since 1997, and you’ve got guy on the precipice of turning from fine wine into vinegar. And vinegar tastes crappy, my friends. It tastes very crappy.
  • Frank Mir - Granted, his last win was an impressive arm-break over Big Nog, but homeboy hasn’t won since 2011.
  • BJ Penn - He may be coaching opposite Frankie Edgar on the next season of TUF, and hasn’t fought in all of 2013, but his last win was over Matt Hughes in 2010. Why does Penn need to get into the cage again? Why?

This is my list. Agree or disagree at your own peril. I know a lot of insults and I’m not afraid to use them.

  • drunkenjunk

    throw Pulver in there as well, I can’t believe athletic commissions still allow that dude to fight.

  • angela

    disagreed…who are you to determine anything about these fighters. You are just a keyboard loser who does not have the accolades of these fighters. Maybe you should retire from writing…you are not that good at it

  • Jim Genia

    Hi Gray!

  • TremblingEagle

    So where the fuck is Ryan Harkness by the way? What exactly happened here, is he gone for good? Who ARE YOU? I had jello today.

  • angela

    Not Gray…do u seriously think he would reply to u. I’m just a fan of real athletes not wannabe writers…

  • Jim Genia

    Hi Roxy!

  • Pewnt

    and on that note….I’m done with fightlinker. Ryan was a lazy fuck when it came to some of the content, but Jim Genia has finally killed fightlinker. You can’t even come up with funny comebacks to Angela’s justifiable comments….later all :)

  • Jim Genia

    *pours out some of 40oz for lost homie Pewnt*

  • robthom

    This is Maynards first shit skid.
    He could still snap out of it.
    Mir was getting smoked left and right before going on a streak where he became the first guy to KO AND submit Nog in between knocking a bunch of other guys out.
    And I think chin is at least partially mental.
    Like Thai boxers who kick bamboo with their shins.
    But Mir needs to retire because he’s been around a long time and I think you only really get one real chance for that resurgence.
    Not 2 or 3 times.

    I think Kos can stay, if he wants to.
    He hasn’t gotten any worse, he just hasn’t gotten much better.
    It doesn’t seem like he’s taking a lot of damage, he’s just never going to be champion.
    His problem in that last fight was trying to be something he wasn’t.

    Roxy has been around a long time and accomplished a lot.
    I agree that coaching would make more sense by now.
    Pretty much every woman fighter and a lot of the men fighters who have been around as long as she has are retired.

    Add Shogun to that list.
    I love Shogun but when he’s not wasting his career with injuries (that I have no idea where he got these from), now he’s pulling the ole rampage and claiming that the rules dont suit him.
    He’s just not in it mentally and the time has passed.
    And Vanderlei.
    But he’s too dumb to retire and the UFC are more then willing to burn his former mystique to the ground for a buck.

    Franklin already announced 1 more fight.
    Oh I almost forgot the biggest one of all…

    Its sad top see some of these guys and gals go,
    but Vera is just becoming irritating.

  • Jim Genia

    Definitely agree with Shogun. Wanderlei is a shadow of his old self, but he still can throw down without ending up a drooling fool – for now at least.

  • robthom

    Vanderlei doesn’t look good these days.

    I know he was never brad pitt, but he is starting to resemble some sort of potentially drooling and shambling visage IMO.
    I’m not sure where Shoguns bad knees came from.
    I dont remember any partigularly gruelling wars against his knees, maybe they’re just weak.
    But we all saw Vanderlei’s face first reign over Pride, probably fueled through any sort of pain via Japans relationship/non-relationship with regulation.
    Yeah, he still gets in a few pretty good wins, in between some gross KO’s.
    And its been a few years of that by now.

    And plus with joe silva and dana gaga’s pussy ass matchmaking what else has Vanderlei got to prove in the UFC?
    That he can get out wrestled by a wrestler?
    I could have told you that without having to see it.

  • robthom

    I doubt Gray reads fightlinker and Roxy is too cool (and grown) to talk like that.

    Haven’t you figured out that you’ve got fans.