Ask Ricardo Almeida or Chris Lytle or some of the other fighters that have retired from MMA recently and they would all tell you that they knew the time was right to call it a career and focus on new ventures.
Now you can add former Ultimate Fighter season 8 competitor Eliot Marshall to that list.
The Colorado based light heavyweight, who was released from the UFC following a very controversial loss to Brandon Vera last October at UFC 137, has decided that his fighting career has come to an end.
“I’m retired,” Marshall said when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio. “There’s a point of diminishing returns, I believe. For me, fighting, I wish I could have been champ, that would have been great. I would have made a lot of money; I would know what it means to be the best in the world. Unfortunately, in pro sports that happens for a very few amount of people, and I got what I needed out of fighting.
“I came through a lot in that last fight with Vera. At the end of the day, everyone knows who won that fight. What can you do? The whole process of just fighting MMA, it’s over; it’s just over. I’m okay with it.”
Marshall walks away from fighting with a 10-4 record overall, but the former TUF 8 competitor isn’t walking away from MMA altogether.
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Amal Easton has now opened a new facility in downtown Denver, Easton Training Center, and Marshall will serve as head coach.
His goal is to help teach jiu-jitsu to a whole new crop of students, and pass on the lessons that shaped him as a person and as a fighter.
“I want to touch 10,000 lives and I can do that by helping people learn jiu-jitsu. Spread a beautiful art. Jiu-jitsu changed my life,” said Marshall. “Literally everything I have is because of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I met my wife because of a job I got from working at the academy. Other than my family, everything I have is from jiu-jitsu.”
The other thing that Marshall will be doing besides acting as lead jiu-jitsu instructor will be building an MMA fight team. Marshall plans on passing on the tools he learned throughout the years as he now hopes to build a team of young fighters that will compete and make their way to organizations like the UFC, just like he did.
“We’re going to have a full fight team. That’s what we want to do,” Marshall stated. “We have high altitude, so it’s good for people to come in and get in shape. We’re going to have different coaches. I’m going to be the jiu-jitsu coach, we’ll have a wrestling program, my Muay Thai coach will be heading up our kickboxing program. We’re going to have a full fight team.”
Even when he was fighting, Marshall admits that part of the reason he did it was to serve as an example or even inspiration to the students he was already teaching. Now he gets to enjoy his passion as a full-time coach.
“It’s one of the reasons that I fought. When push comes to shove, at the end of the day, everyone’s not going to be able to help everyone else. Well, I fought in the UFC. I know what every experience is like. From just training on the mat to competing in jiu-jitsu tournaments to fighting in local MMA shows to fighting in the biggest MMA show that you can fight in,” said Marshall.
“All that is just going to make me a better instructor.”
The operation in Denver is already underway with an official grand opening planned for August.
As for Eliot Marshall, don’t pity him, because most believe he got robbed in his last fight, and with a win he could still be competing in the UFC. He’s retired, and Marshall is happy to move on and become a full-time coach and instructor, fulfilling another passion in his life.
“It’s time to help other people.”