Shane Carwins retiresOver the past few days, a lot of people have expressed their regret over the fact that Shane Carwin has retired from the sport of MMA. Apparently it came as an unexpected outcome to everybody, for this sport to lose such a talented and entertaining fighter.

First of all, how could somebody not anticipate this? The man hasn’t fought for two years, and in 2011 he only had one fight after a break of almost a year. Shane is 38 and has gone through some fairly complex surgeries, and with all this in mind it didn’t seem that the end of was near? At the very least we should have expected a termination of his UFC contract where a fighter has to compete pretty often, as well as, successfully. Shane’s last victory was three years ago, which is a significant period of time between fights. Given that the UFC is now also insuring their fighters in the event of injuries, I’m sure they were not too happy about the state of this man’s career whose existence was remembered only when some medical bills had to be paid.

And secondly, I don’t see anything wrong with the fact of Shane Carwin leaving the sport. I do not debate the fact of how entertaining this man’s fights were, but the guy has a good engineering job, which he hasn’t given up even during his interim period of being a UFC champion. And fortunately, he also hasn’t reached the stage of not being able to count the money he was paid after a fight – a state of which some other fighters are very much aware of. In my personal opinion, we should be happy for Shane’s rational approach to this business model. But apparently, followers of the sport did not see this coming and were clearly disappointed in this decision.

Unfortunately, such is the nature of most sports fans, especially in MMA: they tend to think that athletes own them if not everything, then at least very much. Because technically it was them who paid fighter’s wages and made his fame, which in turn gives them the right to demand the same kind of attention to their needs. Such behavior is especially true of those fans who continue to watch the fights after acquiring the recording illicitly from the Internet and whose merchandise is exclusive to one black UFC t-shirt that was made in the home conditions of their own basement.

Mixed Martial Arts is a special case in the background of the world’s sport scenery. In this business, the rational thinking sometimes goes off the scale. To this day Wanderlei Silva is still being loved by many fans of the sport – he’s the embodiment of the true image of a fighter. They love him because he’s not picky about his opponents, he closes the distance and goes dirty with any type of fighter, and as soon as he wakes up from another knockout, Wanderlei always claims that everything’s fine and he will continue to compete until he’s 100 years old. He was losing more than once a year, but who cares about him? He was and will be loved for his style, but then if he, God forbid, comes out with a chronic traumatic encephalopathy, starts bumping into walls, sinking into depression and think about suicide, those same fans of his will say, “What a tragic fate for the man, who could have thought of such outcome!”

For the fans of the sport of MMA, no matter what happens to a fighter – it’s always a surprise! That’s why fighters and their teams themselves must calculate when such surprises might occur. A great example of such strategy is a former math teacher Rich Franklin. He, too, was one step from a retirement, and Rich said that he’s prepared to take this step, then switch his post-MMA life completely and begin the business of selling organic juices.

And of course this way of thinking is also unpopular amongst MMA fans. A true fighter must compete until he’s capable of doing so without a single thought of either money or injuries, and whatever happens – happens. What not everybody can grasp is that this heroically careless way of living doesn’t always lead to a better life outside of the octagon.