Former King of the Cage lightweight champion and The Ultimate Fighter 6 winner Mac Danzig is calling it a career. The MMA veteran announced his retirement via his Tumblr page, citing health concerns and a lack of motivation for the sport.
“I really have been struggling the past few years with contemplating retirement,” Danzig posted. “And with it in the back of my mind, my performance has suffered. Only those closest to me know about this. A true fighter never wants to give it up. The will to compete dies hard. I have had to teach myself that intelligently stepping away does not equal ‘giving up.”
Danzig’s career peaked in Sept. 2006 when he defended the KOTC Lightweight Championship for a fourth consecutive time. One year later, the Pittsburgh native joined The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra cast and earned a UFC contract when he defeated Tom Speer in the finale.
While he was on the losing end of three Fight of the Night matches, Danzig received a $100,000 bonus for his Knockout of the Night victory over Joe Stevenson at UFC 124. He holds a 21-12-1 MMA record with a 5-8 mark in the UFC.
“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,” Danzig wrote.
Health concerns, Danzig says, are the main reason he is leaving. He recalls suffering repeated concussions while training for a UFC on FOX 8 match with Melvin Guillard; a fight Danzig lost via knockout. Prior to his head injuries, projected matches between Matt Wiman and Donald Cerrone were scrapped when Danzig experienced repeated chest injuries.
Danzig says he doesn’t have a definite plan following retirement, but he hopes to continue working with the UFC. Otherwise, he will pursue passions in becoming a freelance cinematographer, nature photographer, and public speaker.
“It has been a long, amazing, arduous, thrilling, painful, depressing, spectacular, self-realizing, worthwhile struggle of a journey, for which I have no regrets,” Danzig wrote. “I have accomplished a lot in the sport, especially thanks to the many opportunities the UFC has given me. 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.”