On August 29th, Silvia Gallo, the mother of UFC and Strikeforce veteran Jorge Gurgel, was hit by a taxi while crossing Madison Avenue and 79th Street in New York City’s Upper East Side. She was killed almost instantly, despite the incredible efforts of several bystanders to save her.
Jorge had spoken to his mother some 40 minutes before the accident. She was running a few final errands before departing the city to begin a year-long stay in Ireland, where she would work as a Pilates instructor. The conversation they had was brief, but nothing short of foreboding, as MMAJunkie reports:
She literally said, ‘If you die tomorrow, everybody’s lives will still go on. You don’t need to take care of everybody. I want you to get rid of all the bad energy in your life. You have to get rid of all the crazy.
It was of those mom speeches.
Jorge’s mom was always his biggest supporter, even if she couldn’t find it in her to attend her son’s fights in person. Recalled Gurgel, “Everywhere we went (she said), ‘This is my son. The fighter I talked about. This is the fighter.’ She was just so proud.”
But at the same time, Silvia was also the strongest proponent urging for his retirement. It was “never his true calling,” she would tell him. After 12 years and nearly 25 professional bouts, Gurgel had done as much as he could as a fighter. But as a coach, there was still plenty of life left in him.
“If you continue to fight, you’re never going to give your students or the future generation a fair chance,” she told him.
And in keeping with his mother’s wish, Jorge Gurgel has decided to retire from mixed martial arts competition.
It was always ironic that Gurgel, a man who has long been renowned for his coaching skills, never could quite follow a gameplan when he was the one donning the 4 oz gloves. A third degree black belt, Gurgel opted to stand and trade haymakers with his opponents more often than not as a fighter, a highly determining factor in his just above .500 record. (His back-and-forth technical slugfest with Aaron Riley at UFC 91 sticks out in my mind most. God, what a fight that was.)
“I may not have always followed the game plans.” said Gurgel. “If I had, I would have been more successful. But did I fight with all my heart? Yes. I’m a warrior. I’m an old-school warrior.
“I always left it all in the cage. Every time I stepped in the cage was my proudest moment – knowing that I stepped in the cage every single time 100 percent prepared and gave it my all.”
It would be hard to argue with him on that. Gurgel retires with a professional record of 14-10, but will continue to coach and serve his community moving forward. He will honor his mother’s life in the most positive way possible, because it’s what his mother would have wanted.
She was all about positivity. She had the biggest smile in the world. She hated people that played ‘poor me, poor me.’ She was all about owning your s–t. Get the hell up. Get your s–t done. Don’t find excuses. She did not believe in excuses.
Best of luck to you, Jorge, wherever the road takes you.