Mark Bocek wasn't exactly forced into retirement. The 32-year-old longtime UFC lightweight didn't suffer a string of worrisome knockout losses, or even experience a career downturn of sorts. In fact, unlike most retirees, Bocek exited the sport on an upswing, having won three of his last four, with more than a few miles of tread left on his tires.
Yet still Bocek has decided to call it quits, and if nothing else, his comments after making his departure from mixed martial arts official on Wednesday were rather revealing.
"I've gone through a lot of injuries. The sport is highly evolved and I'm not interested in competing against fighters on PED's any longer," the Tristar product told MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani, as reported on UFC Tonight.
Bocek's teammate, former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, abandoned mixed martial arts in late-2013 citing similar circumstances. And while St-Pierre drew criticism at the time for his claim that the sport was overrun by widespread performance enhancing drug (PED) use, his convictions have since been validated in a sense, considering the increasing frequency with which failed drug tests have dominated the news cycle in 2014.
The past four months alone have seen a trio of popular middleweights -- Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva, and Vitor Belfort -- admit to failed random drug tests, the first of whom failed two consecutive tests, and last of whom was still awarded a title shot against Chris Weidman despite it being his second such incidence in Nevada.
Similar failed tests for UFC fighters Kevin Casey, Robert Drysdale, Dennis Siver, and flyweight title challenger Ali Bagautinov have also come to light over that span, and considering the current rate of PED failures, more are likely to follow.
But Bocek won't be there to see them. With professional MMA behind him, he now hopes to pursue new careers in coaching and motor racing.
Over the course of his eight-year UFC run, Bocek amounted a respectable 8-5 record, defeating the likes of Nik Lentz and Dustin Hazlett, and aside from a 2008 setback to Mac Danzig, losing only to a quartet of top-ranked lightweight contenders. He won his most recent fight, edging Mike De La Torre via split decision at April's TUF Nations Finale just a few days after his initial opponent, Evan Dunham, withdrew due to injury.