Chris Lytle will retire after UFC Live 5. | Photo: Mike Fridley
Chris Lytle plans to retire from professional mixed martial arts following his showdown with former welterweight title contender Dan Hardy in the UFC Live 5 main event on Sunday at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. A five-time “Fight of the Night,” two-time “Submission of the Night” and onetime “Knockout of the Night” winner, the 36-year-old remains tied with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva for most post-fight performance bonuses won in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Lytle, a married father of four who works as a fulltime firefighter with the Indianapolis Fire Department, turns 37 on Thursday. A finalist on Season 4 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, he has compiled a 9-10 mark inside the Octagon since his promotional debut in November 2000. Lytle has long since earned a reputation as one of MMA’s most durable fighters, as he has been stopped only twice -- both times on cuts -- in 53 professional bouts.
“I’ve been fighting since ’98, fighting forever -- a lot of it is just that I’m not doing my responsibilities like I need to at home,” Lytle told NBCSports.com. “I feel like I’m not being the type of dad I want to. I got four kids, and lots of times, I feel just an immense sense of guilt for not being there in times when I should.”
A Brazilian jiu-jitsu stylist with professional boxing experience, Lytle has secured 21 of his 30 MMA victories by submission. Wins over former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and 2006 Pride Fighting Championships welterweight grand prix winner Kazuo Misaki anchor his resume. Lytle revealed in July that he was considering a run for the Indiana State House or Senate in 2012. Interests away from the cage and responsibilities at home appear to have accelerated his decision to walk away from fighting.
“I just feel like I have a lot of things in my head that I feel guilty about,” Lytle said. “I have a great time fighting, and I love fighting -- I want to do it all the time -- but I think that sometimes it’s time for me to not think about what I want and start thinking about what’s best for other people.”