Miguel Angel Torres has retired from fighting at age 36. A high school wrestler who had practiced Taekwondo and boxing, Torres began fighting in tiny club shows in the late 1990s, showing tremendous promise.
The Chicago native reached out to the legendary Carlson Gracie, Sr. who recognized his greatness, and took him to Brazil. There Carlson issued a challenge to the entire world. And then Torres beat the world, winning the WEC bantamweight championship, years before the UFC started the division.
Torres was simultaneously developing his highly successful Torres Martial Arts Academy with hundreds of students. He retires with a known career record of 43-9, and is producing students with promise to be as great as their teacher was.
The retirement came via Facebook.
“As I sit here on the mat in my academy contemplating my life and all of the possibilities that can manifest from just mere choice, my heart feels too overburdened and overwhelmed to be able to seriously train for another fight. Wearing so many hats does not afford me the time to seriously do what is in my heart to do. When this journey started it was to make a name for myself, show everyone that I was not an ordinary man, to show all the little guys size doesn’t matter, to make my family proud of all their sacrifices, so my daughter would know her daddy did something special for her, and now things are different.
“Doesn’t feel like my effort is for the love of the fight or competition anymore it’s just about a paycheck to buy unneeded things and taxes to a corrupt system. Have been bouncing back and forth from injuries the last 20 years, always training through the pain and fighting to build my brand and make my mark in the world. Any of my training partners, promoters, or any promotion I fought for were always aware of these things but the show still went on. Can no longer do it the way I have. To not do it the right way or to fight small battles in the middle of training camps leads to ugly situations. It breaks my heart to write this but I officially announce my retirement from mixed martial arts.
“People ask me how was my experience, my answer is bittersweet, when you’ve risen from nothing to fly so high you burn your wings on the sun, the descent is a trip, but once you’re back where you started again nothing will ever be the same. Always wanted to make a mark and be a part of history, just didn’t end up the way I imagined when I was a kid.
“When I close my eyes at night and I breathe deep, can still hear the roar of the crowd, the need to satisfy their lust for danger and excitement, it keeps me up at night it’s so loud. Goodbye my love, thank you for the memories it was something else.
“Thank you to all of my training partners and anyone who ever helped me train for a fight. Couldn’t of done anything in my career without you.”