UFC Vet Bart Palaszewski Discusses Decision to Retire, Transitioning Into Career “That is Not About Me”
By Kelsey Mowatt
After competing in 53 professional bouts, over a twelve year span, Bart Palaszewski recently announced he was hanging up the gloves at the young age of 30. The announcement seemed to catch more than a few fans by surprise, as although Palaszewski was no longer with the UFC, there certainly weren’t calls for the rugged vet to hang them up. But, as Palaszewski recently relayed on Full Contact Fighter Radio, he knew it was time to begin a new chapter in his life.
“The biggest one was that I didn’t want to go back on my word,” said Palaszewski, while discussing his recent decision. “I did an interview after my (Hatsu) Hioki fight, and right before I fought Diego (Nunes), that if I was let go from the UFC I probably was going to hang it up. Obviously I got let go from the UFC after three losses. There was some deals on the table, from other organizations, including KSW in Poland, but I didn’t want to go back on my word.”
“Although there are a lot of other guys in the sport that are older than me, I just feel old I guess,” furthered Palaszewski, who hadn’t fought since April, 2013 when he was tapped out by Cole Miller at the TUF 17 Finale. “I have a ton of fights, and I don’t know, my heart’s not in it I guess you could say…I’ve been kind of contemplating, thinking about it, and I’m still young enough where I can move on and pick another career doing something else.”
Palaszewski noted that he feels “old”, but the well traveled veteran says his health did not play a factor in his decision to retire.
“Oh, not at all,” the Illinois resident said, when asked if the miles of a 50 fight plus record influenced his decision. “Obviously there’s some wear-and-tear, just like any other sport, but no major injuries. I was lucky enough I didn’t suffer any major injuries during my career….Head injuries, which is a big one since it’s a combat sport, I’ve never been knocked out, I got TKO’d once, which I never went to sleep. That’s one thing I’m glad never really happened. Like I said, it was just that my heart wasn’t really in it.”
Palaszewski made his pro debut in January, 2002, and over the next ten years or so he fought for various organizations, including the International Fight League, Xtreme Fighting Organization and World Extreme Cagefighting.
“Winning the championship for the IFL; it was amazing,” said Palaszewski, while discussing some of his career highlights. “It was a big knockout, it was clincher for me, especially coming from behind. I was getting my ass kicked. Obviously the Tyson Griffin fight; that was huge you know. It was my first fight in the UFC and I got lucky enough to be on live TV. I got a bonus out of it which was awesome. That really helped out a lot. Really made things much easier as far as training, and not sweating about paying bills and stuff.”
Unlike many other fighters before him, Palaszewski does not see himself getting heavily involved in coaching or running his own gym. In fact, the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt is already taking steps to enter a new line of work altogether.
“Right now I’m in school, I’m going to do the school thing full time, and I’m looking into law enforcement,” said Palaszewski. “I’ve been really interested in law enforcement for many, many years and I have a lot of good friends in it. I know I’m not going to become rich doing it, but it’s something that I want to do and I guess you can say it’s something selfless.”
“I got to enjoy a career where for 12 years I got to do whatever I wanted to,” added Palaszewski. “It was always me, me, me. So now I want to do something that is not about me.”
Stay tuned to Full Contact Fighter for another article featuring Palaszewski, where he shares his thoughts on the current state of MMA and fighter compensation.