Despite walking away from the sport he loves, Chris Lytle still has the fire. | Photo: Mike Fridley
Chris Lytle has only been retired for a few months, but already he understands why so many fighters struggle to walk away from the sport for good.
“I don’t believe that fighters are made. I think they’re born, and it’s kind of who you are,” Lytle told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “With me, I still have that competitive fire. It wasn’t a point of me being like, ‘I hate fighting. I don’t want fight.’ It was a point of me deciding I’m going to [retire] because I need to spend more time with my kids, but that doesn’t make that competitive fire go away.”
Lytle went out on a great note in August with a submission victory over Dan Hardy at UFC Live 5. The bout capped a long career of entertaining performances.
“When you win, it’s just such a good feeling of achievement,” Lytle said. “It’s kind of unbelievable, and not only that, there’s fans there, thousands of people cheering for you, everybody watching. It’s about as good a feeling as it gets when you win. It’s about as bad a feeling you can have when you lose. It’s addictive. When you win, you want to always have that feeling.”
Lytle also wanted to spend more time with his family, though, and he’s doing that now. He’s staying involved with the sport as well by training kids through the Indianapolis Police Athletic League, coaching high school wrestling and putting on seminars. All of those activities are rewarding and keep him occupied, but they haven’t quenched his thirst for competition.
“It doesn’t go anywhere,” Lytle said of the urge to fight. “Maybe I’m hoping it will just kind of slowly, day after day, maybe it will go away a little bit. I don’t know, but it’s not really happening. I go to an event and I’m like, ‘Man, this sucks.’ There’s no light at the end of the tunnel. There’s no anything for me to kind of look forward to in that aspect. It’s very tough. I’m trying to fulfill it with other things. … I can see where a lot of people, when they stop, they’re going to be bored. They’re just not going to know what to do. It’s kind of like being addicted to a drug, I think, but it’s not a drug.”
Lytle might find his fix in politics. He’s running for state senate in Indiana and he plans on bringing a fighter’s mentality to office if he wins.
“I would love it if somebody’s going to try to tell me, ‘This is how we have to do things,’” Lytle said. “Because I’m going to say, ‘I don’t have to do them like that. You’re not going to tell me to do them like that. You’re not going to scare me.’ I think a lot of these people get intimidated, and that’s all they want to do is get in there and get reelected and stay popular. I don’t care if I get in there and people like me or what not. I want to try to do what’s best for the people around me and whatever happens, happens.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 14:53).