Semmy Schilt Considered Fighting Again; He Now Works With Senshi
Ahead of his referee assignment at Senshi 10, which airs Saturday at 1 p.m. ET and will be broadcasted live for
free on FITE and online at Senshi.com, Boec.bg, Boec.com, Kwunion.com and Kyokushinkarate.news, the MMA and kickboxing legend discussed the factors that forced his 2013 retirement.
Few names in combat sports can claim a career like that of Semmy Schilt. Born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in 1973, he took up karate as a child before switching to mixed martial arts when he was 23 years old. The aptly nicknamed 6-foot-11 “Hightower” made a reputation for himself competing in Pancrase, the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Pride Fighting Championships. Over the years, he faced some of the best heavyweights in the world, including Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Josh Barnett. Schilt retired from MMA with a record of 26 victories, 14 defeats, and one draw.
After hanging up the small gloves, Schilt dedicated himself to kickboxing, becoming K-1 World Grand Prix Champion on four occasions and capturing the Glory Heavyweight Grand Slam Champion once. In 2013, he retired from all combat sports. At the time, many reports indicated that it was due to a heart condition. In this interview, Schilt confirmed those reports, adding that the health issue combined, with different things going on in his life, led to his retirement.
“I think it was a lot of [things],” he said. “I was also tired of kickboxing, of how it went with the management, with the organizations. I was a little tired of them. Then, it came the heart problem. It was real, I got two operations on that. But I think it had to do with [all of] that. It was just a sign from God, ‘Ok, Sem, do something else, man, because you’re not going to be happy in this.’ That’s why I stopped.”
The Dutchman also stated that he considered fighting again from time to time but confesses he’s not willing to put in the sacrifice on a training camp anymore.
“Sometimes it goes to my head, yes, but I can’t make the sacrifices I made before like I made them before. I also have to be realistic about it. The training would be different, the whole system is different, the fight is different. I don’t have the interest to do it. They can come to my dojo, I can kick their asses, no problem, but to do it [again] for a job, I don’t like it.”
While he won’t be competing personally, Schilt will soon step inside a ring again, as he is scheduled to referee at the upcoming Senshi 10. He discussed how hard that job could be at times, especially when dealing with dirty fighters, and touched on more topics from his long career.
(01:38) Giving online kickboxing classes
(03:38) Recollections from his time in the UFC
(07:07) Crossing over to kickboxing
(08:40) How he trained grappling at the time
(10:44) The opponent he liked the most
(11:42) Confirming that he retired due to heart issues
(13:35) Following kickboxing nowadays
(14:35) If he would have liked to fight in front of Dutch fans one last time
(15:33) Considering taking one more fight
(17:35) How he started refereeing for Senshi
(20:24) The most delicate part of a referee’s job
(20:58) What he likes about Senshi
(22:23) His plans for the future
Tudor Leonte started writing about mixed martial arts in 2013 for Italian media outlets. His journey with Sherdog began in 2018 and he now covers One Championship and countless European shows. You can follow him on Twitter @MrTudorLeonte.