Mixed martial arts is a relatively young sport, all things considered. It’s only really been around for roughly 20 years. So while there still isn’t a lot of hard science on the long-term health of retired fighters, it’s doesn’t take a genius to realize that getting punched in the head for a living is bound to have some negative effects.
UFC welterweight competitor Carlos Condit has lost three of his last four fights and has just two wins in his last seven. After being choked out by Demian Maia in late August, those around Condit are saying that he’s considering calling it quits, partly because of the potential lingering head injuries he could be receiving.
In reality, Carlos Condit has been in a lot of fights. He’s been doing this since he was 15 years old,” said Condit’s manager Malki Kawa on a recent episode of Chael Sonnen’s podcast, according to FloSports. “He’s suffered a lot of concussion. He’s one of the few fighters I have who goes in and checks his brain and checks the damage assessed and all that.”
Condit has 40 professional MMA fights on record, and he sports a 30-10 win-loss mark. That’s a lot of mileage for a guy who is still only 32-years old. Kawa continued on, saying he would never argue with a fighter wanting to put his health and safety first.
“He’s just looking at it like this: he took a hard shot from Maia and it caused him to like cradle up a bit and give him that position for him to lose and sink the rear-naked choke. The way I look at it is, if a fighter comes to me and says ‘Hey Malki, I don’t think I can take this much more damage, my head is the most important part of my body with my brain and I don’t think it can take any more damage’, I can’t argue with that.”
“I’m not talking about mentally being in it,” Kawa continued later in the interview. “I’m talking about the damage his brain is taking, not taking and being able to recover,” Kawa said. “It’s going to be all these little different things and he’s just looking at it right now like, look at me now I’m in my prime as a fighter and as a human being, and I got some symptoms. He wakes up sometimes and he’s got some headaches and he’s more worried about that than he is continuing to fight.”
Condit’s manager isn’t the only one from his camp talking about a potential retirement. His coach, Mike Winkeljohn, also expressed concern for Condit’s long-term well being way back in January after Condit lost a wild brawl against Robbie Lawler, a fight that saw Condit earn extra bonus money for being the “Fight of the Night.”
“We don’t want to win Fight of the Night,” he said, according to Elias Cepeda of FOX Sports. “That happened to be fight of the night, which totally sucks, because there is a lot of brain damage going on, and it’s definitely not worth $50,000 for that individual… Fans love it, everybody else loves it, but you pay for it. Hopefully you don’t, but you might be paying for that later in life. We’ve had that conversation many times before, where Carlos has thought, you know, ‘I’d like to get out of this and go forward in my life and be there for my family.’”
“He understands that there’s more important things in life than just punching other people in the face … Carlos is very, very smart about the game and about taking damage to your head especially, as well as to your whole body, and living a good life afterwards.”
Condit also has one professional boxing fight and four professional kickboxing matches on his resume. If he does decide to retire at a relatively young age, it sounds like it will be for all the right reasons.