You're not having fun any more, you say? Your plateau as a fighter has been reached, and you're not going to get any better? One of your main motivations for continuing to fight is that it gives you the ability to enable your mother's addiction to "Today's Special Value" on QVC?!
If I didn't know any better, and you asked me which disgruntled MMA fighter was responsible for those outrageous claims, I probably would've answered "Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson" before you could even finish delivering the question.
Jackson has been telling people that he's ready to retire, that he's not having much fun fighting these days, and that he'd rather be an actor than a fighter, for quite some time now. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to hear that he's been going on-and-on again about possibly being done with the fighting life.
I certainly wouldn't have guessed that Forrest Griffin is the man in question.
Maybe it's because I'm a Georgia boy too, but I've always had a soft spot for ol' Forrest. I've been a fan of his since his days as a cast member on the original season of The Ultimate Fighter.
He seems like a genuinely likeable guy. He also showed great potential as a rising star in the world of mixed martial arts. Aside from those qualities, the one thing that always stood out about him from watching his fights was that he absolutely loved what he was doing.
It's almost clichéd to mention at this point, but go back and watch his fight against Stephan Bonnar from the first Ultimate Finale.
Now, after having viewed that epic battle yet again, does Forrest Griffin look like the type of guy who would ever tell you that the only reason he fights is to pay off his mother's Diamonique® earrings? Not to me he doesn't, and yet that's exactly what's happened.
What a crazy world we live in.
One day you're a new face to a budding sport, your passion is, quite literally, painfully obvious. You're en route to winning the UFC championship, you're engaging in some of the most exciting fights in recent memory, and you're more popular than most other professional athletes could ever hope to be. Then, the next day, you're "not getting any better," and you only fight to sustain your current lifestyle.
Maybe that's just how it goes with any job. Once you've reached your peak, perhaps you're just going through the motions for the rest of your career. There are a very few athletes who seem to have an immunity to this disposition. If you'd have asked me prior to his last several interviews, I would have pointed to Forrest Griffin as one of those few.
However, no matter how much his fans don't want to hear it, that just does not seem to be the case.
So, what's next?
Griffin himself seems to think that his desire for money, to "not be broke," as he says, will be enough to keep his career on at least a steady path. Will it really? Make no mistake about it, Forrest Griffin is a talented fighter. He could feasibly coast on his already acquired skill set for a few more fights, before his lack of enthusiasm starts to become readily apparent.
He won't win any championships that way, but he probably wouldn't be totally dominated either.
How long will that approach carry him, though? One, maybe two more years? At some point, especially in this quickly-evolving sport, even the best fighter has to improve. If he doesn't, the competition will pass him by. Once that happens, you either catch up with them, or you get left behind. Unfortunately for Griffin, getting left behind doesn't provide very much in the way of a cash turnaround.
My question to you, the fans, is this: How long can an unmotivated Forrest Griffin stay afloat in the UFC? Is his upcoming fight against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 134 going to be his last stand?
Griffin defeated Rua in their last bout back in 2007, but it seems as if the tables have turned completely. Rua is looking to spark a career resurrection, while Griffin has quite openly decided to rest on his laurels.
This Saturday night, that question may very well be answered. I must be honest, as a longtime fan of Forrest Griffin's, I really don't like what is looking like obvious outcome.
What do you think?