“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 9 winner James Wilks recently announced that he has been forced to retire from mixed martial arts.
“A few of you have been asking when my next fight is. Unfortunately, I have had to retire due to injury. Now coaching at [Lightning MMA],” Wilks wrote on his Twitter account on Saturday.
The 34-year-old Englishman last stepped into the Octagon more than a year and a half ago, dropping a unanimous decision to Claude Patrick at UFC 120 in London. Wilks was scheduled to face Amir Sadollah at UFC Fight Night 24 in March 2011 but was replaced on the card when he suffered a knee injury.
MMAJunkie.com reported on Monday that doctors warned Wilks that he would risk paralysis if he attempted to fight again; the Leicestershire, England, native has experienced lingering issues in his neck due to a fractured vertebrae he incurred while playing rugby as a teenager.
Wilks posted a 2-2 mark during his time with the UFC. “Lightning” made his promotional debut at the “TUF 9” Finale in 2009, submitting DaMarques Johnson with a rear-naked choke at 4:54 of the opening round. He was knocked out by Matt Brown in his next outing before rebounding with a unanimous verdict against Peter Sobotta at UFC 115.
Wilk will continue to focus on his Laguna Hills, Calif-based gym, Lightning MMA, which he runs along with former UFC talent Michael "The Joker" Guymon.