Fan favorite finished with brawling, ready for new battle arena
On Sunday night in Milwaukee, one of the most entertaining careers in MMA history closed out its final chapter.
UFC veteran Chris Lytle has spent a decade putting on classic battles inside the Octagon. He added one last win to his record as he defeated Dan Hardy in the main event at UFC on Versus 5. The bout was a stand up war with neither fighter willing to give ground, but after locking onto a guillotine in the final minute of the fight, Lytle forced Hardy to tap. It was a fairy-tale ending to a feel-good career.
“Man, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. We went out there and banged, beat each other up and it was everything I wanted it to be. I wanted the fight with Dan to be the type of fight people can look back on and say, “that is what Chris Lytle was about.” Now people can play it back on tape, see that I came out and gave it my all and they will know that’s the type of fighter I was. That was exactly how the fight played out and I really enjoyed myself out there.”
For Lytle, the decision to step away from his fighting career was an easy choice. After taking time off to recover from a knee injury, he began to feel as if he was missing out on some of life’s special moments.
“After the knee injury and spending a lot of time at home, I found it very difficult to get back into the gym. This isn’t the kind of sport where you can do things with half-motivation. For the first time, I started to see things differently. I started realizing that maybe I wasn’t being as good of a father as I could be, and that’s what told me the decision had to be made. I saw there were things that I wasn’t giving them and maybe I was a little too concerned with myself and the things I wanted to accomplish. It put things in perspective that my kids needed their dad and I wasn’t going to turn away from that.”
Following the victory over Hardy, an emotional Lytle brought his children into the Octagon as he addressed the UFC fans about his retirement. Seeing their father not only emerge from the fight victorious and uninjured made it a storybook ending. In addition to the win, Lytle also closed out his career earning his 9th and 10th “Fight Night” bonuses.
“I know they are ready for Christmas to come early this year. You know what I mean?” Lytle joked. “I have a lot to plan having four kids and trying to do what’s best for them. If you ask them they will tell you that I’m not the type who likes to go out and do stuff like that and spend money. I’m always telling them we can put this money in a 401k, but they always have other suggestions. But there is going to be some good stuff for them coming up. They have earned it, and everybody is going to be happy with what I do with the money.”
Also in attendance was Lytle’s close friend, training partner and fellow Indianapolis firefighter Shamar Bailey. The Ultimate Fighter season 13 veteran shared his thoughts on Lytle’s decision to retire.
“I knew this was coming for awhile now but I had to keep it on the low. Chris is a great friend of mine. Obviously he’s a great co-worker and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be fighting, or a firefighter for that matter. He’s a great guy and he’s going to be in my corner for my fight against Evan Dunham down in New Orleans. I wish nothing but the best for Chris in everything he does in the future.”
While Lytle may be stepping away from the conflict that happens inside of the cage, that doesn’t mean his fighting spirit will be extinguished. Lytle has been vocal about wanting to enter the political realm in his home state of Indiana and his bid for office got under way as he sent this message.
“I feel that it’s time for me to stop being selfish and stop thinking about myself. I care about the state that I live in and I have four kids, who I want to have opportunities. I have a 16 -year-old that is going to be out of high school soon, ready to go to college or enter the work force and I worry about what’ s going to be out there for him.”
“The way things are going in the state…I don’t like it. Indiana, economically, we're doing really well right now compared to other states but I think things are only going to get worse. We need to do more to create jobs in our state and I think I have the best idea on how that can be accomplished. I would like the opportunity to get in there and make a difference.”
“Here’s one thing I can promise the residents of Indiana. I’m not going to go out there and say one thing and then sell out for my own personal benefit. It’s going to be a huge pay cut for me going there. There will not be more admiration from being in politics. I get more admiration and love from the UFC fans than most people can probably imagine, so getting into politics isn’t going to be for my personal benefit.”
“It’s about me thinking I can help out. Do you think I’m going to be intimidated by anybody in the state government? I have spent a career facing guys that want to beat me up. Do you think I’m going to be afraid of a Senator or Representative? I’m going in there with the mentality that I just want to do what’s best for the people. “