UFC Fighter Nick Denis Retires from MMA

November 23, 2012
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With 14 fights to his credit including two in the UFC, Canadian Nick Denis has decided to retire from the sport of mixed martial arts.

At only 29-years of age, some might wonder why Denis is walking away so young , with fights still remaining on his UFC contract.

Well as the former biochemistry major explains it, after doing a lot of research into brain injuries and concussions, Denis decided to stop risking his own health in training and fights and walk away while he still could.

“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. 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. Maybe you feel like you just had a little brain scramble, nothing big,” Denis described in his blog.

“Those who spar, know what I am talking about. However these add up. They accumulate, from training session to training session, year after year. The research papers found that men who never had an actual concussion, rather only sub-concussive trauma, (they used football/hockey players) when brain scans were administered to them (can’t remember if it was MRI or CT), their brain morphology was decayed like that of individuals with later stages of neurodegenerative disorders.”

Denis goes onto say that he promised himself if he experienced one more concussion that he would retire, and as certain damage continued to mount, he couldn’t ignore the warning signs any longer.

“In the last couple years, and especially in the last few months leading up to my May 5th fight, while sparring I would notice that when I got hit, it would affect me more and more. 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 worlds 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,” explained Denis.

During his brief UFC career, Denis went 1-1 with a stunning first round knockout in his debut over Joseph Sandoval, and now walks away from the sport to focus on his health and other endeavors.

  • TheDoorDoctor

    gosh, i really liked him but honestly its a smart move so good luck to nick.

  • Bob

    Same reason I walked away! Fighting at a light weight class I believe makes it more dangerous as the fighter ends up fighting or sparing with a lot of larger guys and takes harder shots than he really should. I ‘spared’ a guy to get him ready for a tournament because no one else wanted to spare him… he was 45 lbs heavier than me. I did well but he made things go black with his hooks and I just kept on fighting. I turned down an offer to fight professionally and regretted it for a while after- but later learned how damaging fighting really was and I am glad I stopped when I did.
    Best of luck to Nick!

    • dgs

      Bob I agree with you completely. I have been training in martial arts for over 20 years, including about seven years at the Guy Mezger gym. I love MMA, and I love traditional martial arts, and I train as hard as anyone, but fighting for money, hell no. They have tried talking me into fighting in the mens over 40 (I’m 44) because of my skill level, and I refuse ever time.

      There is not enough money in the world for me to risk permanent brain damage. I make a pretty good living without that. I love training, and I love knowing I could destroy the average person in the street pretty easily if I needed to protect myself or my family, but fighting for money and dealing with KO’s and concussions, never.

      Although, I have been KO’d twice during hard sparring many years ago and that sucked!

      • Hey buddy I’ve seen you on the forum before. I like your attitude. Please add me on facebook and twitter. I enjoy talking to intelligent guys like you.