Ex-UFC, Bellator Veteran Josh Thomson Announces Retirement

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Josh Thomson has officially announced his retirement from the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA).

Thomson hasn’t competed since a knockout loss to Patricky Freire back in February 2017. And appearing on the “Weighing In” podcast (transcript via MMA Fighting) that he hosts alongside former MMA referee John McCarthy, Thomson revealed he no longer has the desire to compete anymore:

“I can say that I’m officially retired,” Thomson said. “I can finally say it. And the thing is that you have to say it sometimes just to say what you just said, because I realized I was taking more shots than I should have been taking. And I don’t want to live that lifestyle, I didn’t want to be in there as a punching bag to anybody. I was taking more in training – that’s the thing, people only see the ones you take in the fight. They don’t realize that you’re taking more in training too, because there’s young, talented studs in my gym. And those guys are whooping your a** too; it’s not just the one guy in the cage that you’re fighting. It’s the lead-up to it. It’s all the other shots you take in there.

“That’s the hardest part, and so when you’re telling me all the things that [Donald Cerrone] went through [in his recent fights], that’s exactly what happened, and I could see myself getting hit more often than I wanted to.”

Thomson is a former Strikeforce lightweight champion while he also had stints in the UFC and most recently, Bellator.

But it wasn’t just Cerrone’s recent three-fight losing streak that played a role for Thomson as he mentioned, but also the tragic death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant on Sunday morning that made the 41-year-old appreciate the need to spend time with his family.

“I see what Donald Cerrone’s going through right now, and there’s a whole other life after fighting,” Thomson told MMA Fighting. “You have another 20, 30, maybe even 40 years if you’re lucky, god willing, to live, and you have your kids and you have your life. I guess because of what happened on Sunday with Kobe Bryant, losing him and his daughter and everything, reality sets in that there’s a whole life after [playing] that he was just getting to enjoy, and you never know when it’s going to come to an end, (or) how it’s going to come to an end.

“I have family that I haven’t seen in years; my dad passed when I was younger, and I was trying to live the dream as a fighter at the time, and I missed opportunities and chances to spend with him. There’s a lot of things in life.”

It’s not going to be a case of Thomson missing the urge to compete in the cage, either. After all, he hasn’t competed in nearly three years.

Added with the fact that he has financial opportunities outside the cage, “The Punk” has no reason to return — even for a one-time payday:

“I’ve really made the decision,” Thomson added. “I walk past the cage now, and I hear their bodies getting hit, I hear their head getting hit, I hear the clash of their bodies together, the slams – it doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t have the desire anymore to do it. I was motivated for this one fight to come about, and when it didn’t come about and time’s ticking, time’s not on my side, then I’m not really willing to continue to wait, and the longer I wait, the harder it is for me, and the less it benefits me to jump back in.

“So I have no desire. The other thing is that I’m really good friends with [Bellator president] [Scott] Coker outside of the business, and we’ve had several conversations about what’s best for myself and what’s best for Bellator, and how I can better help Bellator in any capacity possible. We’ve come to agree on a lot of things on how I’ll be used and how I can help better the organization. And I would rather do that than come back for one money-grab fight. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

What do you make of Thomson retiring?