This weekend will mark the last time to see Mike Pyle as an in-cage competitor.
Pyle, the 19-year veteran of the sport, will be retiring from MMA after his UFC 222 fight Saturday night with Zak Ottow in Las Vegas, he told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. Pyle, a 42-year-old longtime Las Vegas resident, will cap his MMA career at 42 fights.
“I’m looking forward to fight this weekend and that will be my very last fight ever,” Pyle said. “I’m gonna retire. It’s been a long road and that’s it. I want to hang the gloves up and move on. I’m excited to make that move, I’m ready to retire. I’m 43 this year, it’s time.”
Pyle said it was not too hard to come to the decision.
“It’s not difficult at all, to be honest with you,” Pyle said. “It’s more like a relief. It’s time to move on.”
Pyle (27-13-1) owns victories over the likes of Jon Fitch, Rick Story, Josh Neer and Shone Carter. He’s a former WEC welterweight champion The Tennessee native debuted in MMA in 1999 against Quinton Jackson. To put that in perspective, Pyle has fought most of his career at 170 pounds, while Jackson is an all-time great at light heavyweight. Pyle weighed 175 pounds for that fight and Jackson weighed 205.
The well-traveled “Quicksand,” a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, fought for WEC, the IFL, Affliction, EliteXC, Sengoku and Strikeforce in his career. He even competed three times in Copenhagen for Viking Fight, winning that promotion’s middleweight title in a tournament back in 2004.
Pyle is currently on a two-fight losing streak and has lost five of his last seven after a four-fight winning streak in 2012 and 2013 propelled him close to a title shot. He has been knocked out in two straight bouts, as well.
“The juice is no longer worth the squeeze,” Pyle said. “The pay checks just aren’t big enough for me to stay in harm’s way at my age. That’s it. I’m easily gonna walk away. It’s really not that hard, to be honest. It is my identity, that’s what I’ve been identified as, as a fighter for so many years. It’s gonna be a different change, but it’s nothing that hits the heart too much.”
Pyle said it’s a “relief” heading into the fight with Ottow, knowing that it is his final bout.
“I’m going out to have some fun in my last fight,” Pyle said. ... “There’s no pressure on me. I don’t have to worry about getting cut from UFC. I don’t really have to worry about anything. I get to go and be me, let everything out put it all on the table for one last time. One more time, we go. That’s just fine for me with Zak.”
After MMA, Pyle said he plans on continuing to work in Hollywood as a stunt actor. He’s currently working as the stunt double for the lead actor on “The Tick,” which airs on Amazon.
Pyle added that he does not blame the UFC for those low pay checks he mentioned. He said it was his fault and his fault alone that he didn’t earn the kind of income that he could have in the promotion.
“I did not climb the ladder,” Pyle said. “I did not make those accomplishments. I did not build that contract higher and higher and higher. The money was there for me to make.
“I didn’t build myself and I didn’t make that money. So, it’s time.”