Matt Serra may not want to use the word “retired,” but odds are nevertheless good that the welterweight veteran has hung up his gloves.
Serra recently elaborated on his probable retirement in an interview with Newsday, explaining that only a fight at Madison Square Garden could inspire him to climb back into the UFC’s Octagon.
“It’s hard to say it,” Serra told Newsday. “It’s like you can’t say it, even though it probably is true. I would love to put closure on my career with one last fight at the Garden, but at the same time, if that doesn’t happen, I definitely consider myself done. It’s hard to say the ‘R word.’ I might never say the ‘R word.’
“I really think I’m walking away,” Serra continued. “I’m going to be 39. I just had my rib taken out. I’m having my third kid. My schools are doing well. What am I doing, looking for another pay day? It’s not really for that. I mean, it doesn’t stink, but it’s not really for that. Am I still trying to hold on for the glory? Glory is a drug, dude. I’m telling you, that’s the problem. It really is. I know why guys can’t walk away. I absolutely get it.”
Serra’s decision was in part informed by a recent health issue. Two days prior to cornering one of his fighters at an April 5 Ring of Combat show in Atlantic City, N.J., the former welterweight champion reportedly felt a pain in his left arm following a jiu-jitsu session at one of his schools. The pain eventually worsened, forcing him to drive to the emergency room at 2 a.m. following the ROC event.
The fighter was diagnosed with two blood clots in his arm and another in his lungs. To correct the problem, Serra’s doctor placed him on blood thinners and surgically removed his first rib, which was compressing a blood vessel and restricting blood flow. Serra is expected to recover from the surgery in six to eight weeks, but will be required to stay on the blood thinners for another month before he can resume training.
Serra has not competed since September 2010, when he was outpointed in a rematch with Chris Lytle at UFC 119. “The Terror” is best known for his Cinderella run at the welterweight championship, which saw him capture “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 4 title before knocking out heavily favored champion Georges St. Pierre in 2007. The New Yorker would hand the title back to St. Pierre a year later, however, falling to “Rush” in his first title defense at UFC 83.
With his fighting career now most likely in his rearview mirror, Serra will continue to focus on his jiu-jitsu academies and his family.
“I know I can still knock some of these guys out and be a threat on the ground,” said Serra, “but, at the same time, [my next fight] used to be that thing that made me happiest. Now, I whistle to work going to my schools. I love hanging out with my kids, my family. That’s something you never really anticipate or understand until you have a family. I love spending time with my girls. I’m a very involved dad.”