MMA Fighters Find Second Careers
After her shocking loss to Holly Holm at Ultimate Fighting Championship 193 in November 2015, Ronday Rousey returned to the ring a little over a year later and was beaten again. This time she fell to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 with the fight stopped just 48 seconds in. Following the bout, speculation ran rampant that it could be the last one for arguably the most popular female fighter to ever enter the Octagon.
At 30 years old, Rousey could be ready for retirement, but an exit from the ring won’t likely end her time in the public spotlight. Throughout her short but illustrious career as a fighter, Rousey parlayed her popularity into a budding career in Hollywood, appearing in a number of films and TV shows, including Entourage, Furious 7, and The Expendables 3.
She’s even in the midst of earning a producer credit on a remake of the Patrick Swayze classic Road House. In fact, all indications are the Glendale, California native will make a relatively smooth transition into a career in Hollywood once she hangs up the gloves.
There comes a time in every fighters career when a decision on retirement must be made. No one can fight forever, but with peak physical fitness and fighting conditioning coming at such a young age for most mixed martial artists, what to do next is always a big consideration.
There are a number of other MMA fighters that have turned to acting once their fighting careers ended. But for every Randy Couture, Gina Carano, and Chuck Liddell there a list of dozens of others who can’t seem to find that sustainable level of success.
Tito Ortiz has done a fair bit of acting throughout his career as a fighter. As he contemplated retirement, he also found a place where he can continue to tap into his competitive drive without having to step back in the Octagon, entering the world of professional poker at a tournament in the Bahamas in 2015.
Preparation for a career after fighting appears to be the real key to success for former MMA greats.
Nick Thompson may not be a household name in the MMA world, but he is a fight game veteran with 53 professional fights under his belt. Before retiring, he amassed a record of 38-14-1 with both the UFC and Bodog, and collected the Bodog Fight Welterweight Championship title.
At the same time he managed to get an undergraduate degree and finish law school. Even as his fighting career continued, Thompson began moonlighting at a La Crosse, Wisconsin law firm and once his time in the octagon ended, he was able to make the smooth transition into practicing various types of law, including criminal law, corporate law and sports law.
A number of former MMA fighters have gone after the obvious second career, transitioning into MMA broadcasting, or Mixed Martial Arts teaching once they hang it up. Others take a not so well worn path.
Chris Lytle fought in the UFC, WEC, Pancrase, and the Cage Rage Championships, where he won the Cage Rage World Welterweight Champion title. He proved his level of toughness as a fighter finishing up having never been knocked out or submitted, but he also did it fighting fires.
At the tail end of his career, Lytle relaxed his fight schedule and began training to be a firefighter in Indianapolis, Indiana. He began working as a firefighter even before retirement. Now he spends more time with his family, fighting fires and saving lives.
The MMA world tends to attract people with an extremely high level of determination, and whether they become actors, lawyers, firefighters or anything in between once the fighting stops, it would be hard to find anyone who thinks they won’t succeed.