Mixed martial arts and professional wrestling are alike in several ways. Superstars are often pushed to the tops of cards even if they are not necessarily the best overall performers. Competitors use their verbal skills to cut “promos” on each other in order to sell fights and draw eyes to events. Both MMA and wrestling promotions such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Wrestling Entertainment have, in the past, manufactured story lines to make fans believe that two individuals taking part in a match actually hated each other in real life and beyond the realm of competition. Such tactics have made for successful business models in MMA and pro wrestling.
One way MMA differs from pro wrestling is that performers are able to compete at a high level in pro wrestling when they are past their physical primes because the outcomes of matches are pre-determined. That, of course, is not the case in MMA. Somebody who is either unable to hang inside of a cage against top-tier competition or who no longer has the drive to compete in a MMA promotion such as the UFC should hang it up and walk away from the business. Otherwise, that person could put himself or herself in harm’s way. After all, there is nothing fake about the punches thrown during a real MMA fight.
10. Anderson Silva
Remember when the left foot of Anderson Silva essentially exploded when he delivered a kick during UFC 168? That was apparently Silva’s body telling him that the time had come to hang it up and walk away from fighting. Since that serious injury, Silva has failed a drug test, he lost a controversial result to Michael Bisping (more on Bisping later), and he was forced to pull out of UFC 198 because of requiring surgery to remove his gallbladder. Silva is never again going to be one of the best fighters in the world. “The Spider” needs to listen to his body and hang it up.
9. Frank Mir
It is hardly a hot take to suggest that Frank Mir needs to retire. The former UFC Heavyweight Champion is no longer the great fighter that he was when in his prime, and Mir looked downright shot in his knockout loss to Mark Hunt in March 2016. Since that loss, it has been alleged that Mir used a performance-enhancing drug after he failed a drugs test following the defeat to Hunt. Mir, who will be 37 years old at the start of summer, could be facing a two-year suspension from competitive MMA unless he wins an appeal. Such a ban, were it to be handed down, should lead to Mir retiring.
8. Dan Henderson
The belief in the spring of 2016 is that Dan Henderson is considering calling it a career before the end of 2015. We would certainly hope so at this stage of the game. Henderson, who is currently scheduled to compete at UFC 199 in June, will turn 46 years old in the summer of 2016. There is no question that Henderson is a legend of the MMA industry, but nobody anywhere needs to see yet another icon of the sport hang around too long and put on lousy fights for a promotion such as Bellator. We sincerely hope that 2016 will be the last year that Henderson competes as an active MMA fighter.
7. Michael Bisping
We are happy for Michael Bisping that he is finally receiving his championship shot in the UFC this coming June. One of two things are going to happen, though: Bisping will either pull off the surprise victory before ultimately losing his title to a better fighter, or Bisping will lose the title match and then never again receive a championship bout in the UFC. At 37 years old, Bisping realistically does not have all that much left to do before his body betrays him. Bisping should seriously consider hanging it up once the spring makes way to summer.
6. Royce Gracie
No, Royce Gracie, you do not have to make another comeback to the cage to face Ken Shamrock in yet another rematch. Gracie defeated Shamrock earlier in 2016 in controversial fashion after he accidentally nailed Shamrock with a low blow that went undetected by the official. There was just about zero chance that fight was going to be a classic encounter regardless of where the two veterans of MMA hit each other. Gracie will be 50 years old by the end of the calendar year, and he has nothing left to prove to anybody. The legend of the industry needs to retire.
5. Dada 5000
Some MMA fighters should know better and walk away from the sport before they do serious damage to themselves. Others, such as Dada 5000, should be forced to make a switch away from active competitions as quickly as possible. Dada 5000 never should have been allowed to enter the cage for a fight versus Kimbo Slice in February 2016, and that he did nearly cost him his life. What would have been the biggest disaster in the North American history of the sport was thankfully avoided, but all should think of the bigger picture and not allow Dada 5000 to compete in promotions such as Bellator. Such a move would hopefully convince Dada 5000 to retire.
4. Kimbo Slice
Kimbo Slice continues to be a big television draw as of the spring of 2016 for reasons that somewhat defy logic in the eyes of some MMA purists. All Slice can do, at this stage of his professional career, is defeat over-the-hill former superstars such as Ken Shamrock and fighters who do not belong in a serious promotion like Dada 5000. Slice also allegedly could not even defeat Dada 5000 without violating rules regarding performance-enhancing drugs. Slice made a good amount of money fighting, and he could maybe get some acting gigs. He needs to retire for the good of all involved.
3. Ken Shamrock
It is, truth be told, a little sad to watch Ken Shamrock compete in MMA matches in 2016. Shamrock was a superstar of the 1990s who made a name for himself in the UFC and in the WWE, and maybe he would have been an even bigger international sensation had he come along a decade later than he did. Shamrock is now 52 years old, though, and he is physically a shell of his former self who probably shouldn’t even be allowed to enter a cage for a televised match. For the good of his overall health, and for the good of the health of the sport, Shamrock needs to walk away.
2. CM Punk
Odds are that you have read the numerous reports about how poorly CM Punk has looked in his practice fights as he prepares to make his UFC debut. Punk also underwent an operation to fix a back problem earlier in 2016. You have to give Punk credit for standing up for himself, walking out on World Wrestling Entertainment on his own terms and pursuing a different goal. Sometimes, however, the body tells a person when enough is enough. Punk did well to make money from the WWE and the UFC. Taking a beating inside of the cage just to do it is silly. Punk should hang it up and move on to other endeavours.
1. Ronda Rousey
It was rumored even before Ronda Rousey lost to Holly Holm in November 2015 that Rousey was eyeing the end of her fighting career. Since that knockout defeat, Rousey has not committed to a return date for a fight. All that is known for sure, as of the posting of this piece, is that she will not compete at UFC 200, and it looks more and more likely as every day passes that Rousey will not fight at all in 2016. Maybe Rousey is just taking an extended break. If, however, suggestions that Rousey’s heart is no longer in it and she would rather pursue other options are accurate, she should seriously consider calling it a career. Rousey could otherwise put herself in real danger if she fights when she is not all-in on attempting to reclaim what was her championship.