UFC bantamweight Nick Denis announced his retirement today via his official blog. While the Ontario native’s retirement comes unexpectedly at only 29 years of age, Denis cites fear of longterm brain damage as a determining factor.
After my first loss, a devastating knockout where Marlon Sandro dribbled my head on the canvas like a basketball, I did lots of research on concussions,” he wrote. “As a graduate student at the university of Ottawa, I had access to all peer reviewed scientific journals. No surprise to find that concussions = bad. However, I found something that had never occurred to me. Sub-concussive trauma. Basically, a blow to the head that doesn’t lead to a concussion. When it happens, you feel fine, and continue on.
… In the last couple years, and especially in the last few months leading up to my May 5 fight, while sparring I would notice that when I got hit, it would affect me more and more,” he wrote. “When I first started sparring I would run through punches unaffected. Not only that, but now training at Tristar, I am literally training with the world’s best. We are all training at the highest level, all for the same reasons. Could I fight in the UFC, against the best fighters in our solar system, literally trained killers, without sparring in training? Not really, so what was I to do? I have made the decision to retire
… I am a human being, and I was born with only one brain, and I want to take care of it so that I will recognize the ones I love when I get older.
“The Ninja of Love” walks away with an 11-3 record in MMA, and a 1-1 run in the UFC. Denis made his UFC debut in January, scoring a brutal knockout over Joseph Sandoval with elbows in the collar-tie. The fighter from Ottawa then lot his second bout to Roland Delorme in a round of the year contender, hurting his opponent, but being choked out with one second left in the opening stanza.
Nick plans to resume his studies and finally obtain his Ph.D. in biochemistry.