In several heartfelt posts on Twitter, Kedzie admitted the decision to step away had been made prior to her bout on Saturday night.
Before walking out to my fight today, I had a long talk with my coach and we decided that this would be my last MMA fight.— Julie Kedzie (@julesk_fighter) December 7, 2013
I would have loved to have gone out on a win, but c'est la vie-don't leave it to the judges. Heartbreak is a huge part of this sport.— Julie Kedzie (@julesk_fighter) December 7, 2013
I really truly want to thank all of you for being a part of my journey as a fighter. I will still be involved in MMA for the rest of my life— Julie Kedzie (@julesk_fighter) December 7, 2013
..but now it's time for me to accept that I can give more to the sport by stepping back and taking role in helping to develop other fighters— Julie Kedzie (@julesk_fighter) December 7, 2013
From the bottom of my heart, thank you to the @UFC , my team, and all of you who have made me achieve some amazing dreams.— Julie Kedzie (@julesk_fighter) December 7, 2013
Ronda Rousey generally gets credit for carrying women’s MMA to the UFC, but it was actually the fight between Kedzie and former MMA star Gina Carano back in 2007 that really put the ladies on the map.
The vast majority of fans came into the fight completely oblivious as to what they were about to see. It was a real gutsy move by the EliteXC in showcasing a spectacle within a spectacle—a women’s MMA fight in a primetime slot on Showtime.
No one could have predicted the events that were about to unfold would change the way we viewed MMA forever.
For 15 minutes, Carano and Kedzie exchanged blow for blow in an epic battle that holds a similar historical significance to Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar. If the EliteXC never took a chance or Carano vs. Kedzie failed to deliver, then perhaps women’s MMA would be in a much different place right now.
Unfortunately for Kedzie, she wasn’t consistent enough to bask in the same notoriety as many of her peers. She was never able to get a win in the UFC or Strikeforce, and her career comes to a close on a rather unsatisfying four-fight losing streak.
Let’s face it...There probably won’t be any blockbuster movie deals waiting in the wings like there was for Carano when she hung up her gloves back in 2009. For Kedzie, it will likely just be more of the same: a spot on Jackson MMA’s coaching staff and a commentating role in Invicta Fighting Championships.
Still, no amount of notoriety or wins could ever amount to the contributions Kedzie has made to women’s MMA.
We can only hope that she remains an ambassador of the sport and continues to influence and inspire thousands of young women hoping to one day throw on a pair of four-ounce gloves and step into the cage.