by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
According to the Cage Rage web site, and confirmed by the man himself, current British Light Heavyweight titleholder Ian “The Machine” Freeman has once again decided to retire from fighting.
Freeman had already retired in late summer of 2005 after having to pull out of a proposed fight with Forrest Griffin due to a recurring injury. After some time away from the game, however, he returned in July of 2006, albeit in a losing effort to Melvin Manhoef, but then winning the British Light Heavyweight belt against Mark Epstein at Cage Rage in September.
A pioneer of the British fight scene, it seems that time is catching up with Freeman, who will turn 41 years old this November. “Ian has been a great champion and an ambassador for the sport, not only here, but around the World. Ian was the first British fighter to get invited to the UFC and has since won many different titles around the World competing against some of the toughest men on the planet,” commented Cage Rage officials.
It is not so much age that is catching up with Freeman, but time itself. Freeman has been tapped to organize and coach a British team in the International Fight League in 2008. He’s also a big portion of the Cage Rage promotion as a co-presenter, the face of Fighter’s Only magazine, makes lots of public appearances and has a blossoming television career.
“My career in TV is going big now and I don’t have the time to train as hard as I need to for a fight,” Freeman told MMAWeekly.
So, although he’s stepping out of the ring, he’s not leaving the fight game. Freeman will now be more involved in it’s other aspects as a coach and broadcaster as he moves into the next phase of his life.
Cage Rage announced that Mark Epstein and Paul Calhoon will face each other on July 14th at Wembley Arena for the title vacated by Freeman.
But then again, Freeman did leave the door open a crack, “You know how it is, a true fighter never retires…”