After suffering a brutal knockout loss to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at UFC 230 this past weekend, Chris Weidman finds himself in a position in his career that we are quite familiar with. We’ve seen the dilemma before in fellow former champs like Chuck Liddell, Rich Franklin, and Michael Bisping. Towards the end of their careers they began taking heavy damage and through the advice of others – and their instincts – they made the right choice to get out.
— Tanuki Usman (@Hamderlei) November 4, 2018
Chuck was 1-5 in his last run with 4 of those losses being via KO/TKO. His knockout losses to Rich Franklin and Rashad Evans were legitimate. Liddell was lying completely still on the canvas for a significant amount of time. Dana White finally stepped in and forced him to retire to try and save his friend from legitimate brain damage. Sadly, Chuck is returning to the cage later this month to face Tito Ortiz for a third time.
Rich was 5-4 in his last 9. Two of those of were brutal wars with Wanderlei that Franklin won, but not without taking heavy damage. His last fight was a scary knockout that sent him limp to the canvas via a straight punch from Cung Le. Thankfully he made the decision to retire and move in to a high profile position in the ONE organization with his wits intact.
When Bisping fought TRT monster Vitor Belfort he suffered a retinal detachment from a powerful head kick. Along with some vision impairment the damage is clearly visible to the eye itself. After suffering a KO loss to Kelvin Gastelum he called it quits in November of 2017 saving his eyesight from degrading further.
Back to Chris Weidman.
Chris has been knocked out in four of his last five fights with a single win over Kelvin Gastelum wedged in between. This is a guy who many considered to be the future of the middleweight division and someone who would carry the torch for a long time. The fall was hard and fast to the shock of his fans and probably the UFC itself. Chris was the perfect poster boy with his good looks, clean lifestyle, and having the nickname, ‘The All American’. A good looking kid with an American flag as his banner? License to print money.
The big question is whether or not he will fall in to the, “I was winning and I just got caught” trap. All three of the guys I mentioned at the beginning uttered those words or something very similar publicly at one point. It’s a dangerous way of thinking. It’s like telling yourself you were winning a shootout until you got shot in the chest. Almost doesn’t count unless it’s horseshoes or hand grenades. If you are unconscious at the end of a fight it doesn’t matter what you did leading up to it.
Another factor in his decision making process are those people who have invested time and money into his career and those who profit off of it. Weidman is well known and very marketable thanks to his clean cut image. He made $285K in disclosed payouts from the UFC and Reebok for his loss to Gegard Mousasi at UFC 210 and a whopping $570K for his UFC on FOX win over Kelvin Gastelum. He has a net worth of $3MIL making him a high profile client and decent source of income for managers, agents, etc.
Finally, his friends and family need to step up. He needs to transition in to an analyst role or a behind the scenes job and someone close to him should suggest it. When he’s 50 he will be thanking them for saving his brain from more damage.
Whatever Chris decides to do it needs to involve his personal safety and his long term health as a major consideration in the decision. However, this post-UFC 230 tweet from Weidman doesn’t inspire confidence in what that decision will be.
Unfortunately last night didn’t workout for me. Congrats to Jacare & his family & team on a amazing win. He is a true warrior & it was an honor to share the octagon with him. Thanks to everyone for the support, love & prayers. I appreciate it all. I will be back better from this!
— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) November 4, 2018