Krzysztof Soszynski is more than two years removed from his last mixed martial arts bout, a 35-second knockout loss to Igor Pokrajac at UFC 140.
It was, he says, the first true knockout loss of his 39-bout professional career. Soszynski, now 37 years old, hasn’t fought since. He still can’t remember what he did two days ago.
Soszynski announced his retirement during Friday’s edition of Inside MMA . It was the first time the light heavyweight had spoken publicly about the struggles he had been having since the fight against Pokrajac on Dec. 10, 2011.
“I’m no longer fighting. I will never have another mixed martial arts fight ever again. My last fight in the UFC was December of 2011, and it was my first time ever getting literally knocked out cold,” he told Inside MMA. “My brain didn’t wake up for probably about 40 minutes after the fight. There was an interview – Dana White’s [video blog] is on there having the interview – I don’t remember any of that stuff. I just remember walking into the Octagon. I remember waking up. I already had my clothes on; apparently I had a shower and all that.”
Soszynski wasn’t immediately ready to call it quits, however. He wanted one more fight in the Octagon. That would at least give him the opportunity to write a better ending to his career. After about six months off, Soszynski called UFC matchmaker Joe Silva and said he was ready.
All it took was one punch to prove otherwise.
“My first little training session, I sparred with this little 155-pounder, and he hit me in the face, in the jaw, once.” said Soszynski, who was booked to face Ednaldo Oliveira in December 2012. “My brain literally said: No more.”
It wasn’t just the brain-rattling punch. There were a lot more signs hinting that Soszynski should step away.
“I sent an email to the UFC just letting them know, ‘Hey I really want this fight but I’m having some head trouble,’” he said. “Just memory loss, just small little things are happening. I’m forgetting things. I’m forgetting my words. I’m mixing things up from time to time. Even counting backwards from like 20 down to 10 was tough.”
Soszynski met with White and they both agreed he should retire. Meanwhile, both Soszynski’s wife and son practically demanded that “The Polish Experiment” be put to rest for good.
“I knew right away then that it was time for me to move on and do something else,” he said.
Soszynski exits the sport with a 26-12-1 mark. In addition to a nine-bout stint with the UFC, the Winnipeg native also competed for the International Fight League and Strikeforce over the course of a pro tenure that began in 2003. He boasts victories over the likes of Jason Day, Brian Stann, Stephan Bonnar, Goran Reljic and Mike Massenzio, to name a few.
Moving on hasn’t been easy, especially since Soszynski says he still hasn’t fully recovered from that final fight. He isn’t sure that he ever will.
“It’s not getting worse, but it’s not getting any better. Don’t get me wrong, I’m trying everything out. I’m doing all the things. I have no more TV at home; I’ve taken the cable off. I read a lot more books. [I take] a lot of fish oils and [do]all the good things that you’re supposed to do,” he said. “But it’s one of those things where I think it’s the way it’s gonna be for the rest of my life. It kinda sucks. You take all those little things for granted.
“Yesterday I spoke with my wife, and today I’ll probably ask her the same questions I asked her yesterday because I don’t remember the answers to those questions. It’s those little things that kind of bother me, but the good thing is I don’t have any dizzy spells. I don’t have any long term memory loss. It’s just small little things that I took for granted.”
Soszynski hopes to offer counsel to other fighters who have taken repeated blows to the head. He says he has recently spoken Mark Munoz, whose last two defeats have come via knockout.
“I just asked him questions that I’ve asked myself after getting knocked out. I just want to make sure that these guys understand that it’s no joke. It’s tough,” he said.
“If you feel like your head’s telling you something: Listen to it. I don’t remember what I did Wednesday. I’m sitting here now, and I can tell you I don’t remember Wednesday. And that’s two days ago. I don’t remember what I did.”