Retirement is a difficult decision for any fighter to make. MMA veteran turned American Top Team coach Din Thomas knows that struggle, so he doesn’t mind helping others get through it.
Thomas (26-9), a nine-fight UFC veteran with wins over Matt Serra, Clay Guida and Jeremy Stephens, fought his final professional bout in April 2013. He said he hasn’t looked back since, and the “seamless” transition into becoming a notable coach in the sport helped make the process easier.
It’s not that simple for everyone, though. The history of the sport has shown fighters stick around too long for comfort, and countless names have hung up their gloves only to come back anywhere from months to years later.
Thomas believes it’s his duty as a coach to act in the best interest of the athletes. When others might be reluctant to tell a fighter their time has passed, Thomas said he’s willing to have that conversation.
“I’m pretty honest with them,” Thomas said on the “JRE MMA Show” podcast with UFC commentator Joe Rogan. “I’m pretty honest. I’m like, ‘Man, this ain’t for you no more.’ I always have to tell them if I feel like it’s going to effect them physically and hurt them by continuing to fight, I tell them, ‘You need to stop.’”
The Florida-based American Top Team is among the most elite training facilities in the sport and houses many of its top athletes and champions. Thomas works closely with current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (19-3-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) and is in consistently in the corner of recognizable names and newcomers.
The journey of an MMA fighter is long and oftentimes treacherous, but Thomas believes that the time becomes evident for each individual to retire. That point is different for every athlete, and Thomas doesn’t mind being the one to point that out.
“More often than not they kind of listen,” Thomas said. “They kind of know and they just needed somebody else to say it. And I’m willing to tell them. I always try to tell them. And if they don’t want to do it, I can’t be a part of it.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: ATT coach Din Thomas explains why he has no problem urging fighters to retire