EFC lightweight champion Dave ‘The Pain Train’ Mazany has announced his retirement from professional mixed martial arts.
The 35-year-old Xtreme Couture product hangs up his gloves with a record of 17-6-1.
Mazany ends his career on a high, having reclaimed the 70kg strap with a split decision victory over Martin van Staden (26-11) in Cape Town in August.
The Alaskan, who cultivated a strong following in the South Africa-based promotion and also competed in Australia, plans to explore further opportunities as a coach and trainer.
Mazany said: “I came to the decision the other day that I’m going to retire from mixed martial arts. It was a tough decision, it was something that I had to think long and hard about because mixed martial arts has been a major part of my life for the past decade.
“But it basically came down to my life being at a plateau. I’m 35 years old now, and I told myself a long time ago that if I turned 35 and I’m not making money fighting professionally, I got to retire. Yeah, I technically make money, but I don’t make enough to live off. I’m not making a living wage; I have to work multiple jobs in order to do what I need to do.
“The other thing that factors in is my health right now. I’m really concerned with my brain and it getting damaged. I’ve been in a brain study through the Cleveland Clinic for the last seven years or so and they kept track of my brain progress. It’s been going well, but the thing I noticed about CTE and other brain trauma is the residual effects take action later you know. Like, you will get hit in the head multiple times and then 10 years later you’re kind of ###### sometimes. I’m crossing my fingers, I’m hoping I’m not up there.
“I sort of played the thought experiment going in to this idea of retirement. If my brain went and I couldn’t think anymore, if I couldn’t make out sentences, how much money would I pay in order to get my brain right. You know when you are 40 years old, 50, 60, 70, you still have a life to live. I can live without my arms, my legs, without my body, but living without my brain is pretty tough.
“Another thing I’m ready to explore life in a different way. I’m a good coach, I’m a good trainer. I feel like I’m gonna do major things in that industry coming up, and again if I don’t have my brain I can’t do it.”
He added: “Although I feel like I plateaued and I hit this spot, I really appreciate … I’m really going to miss fighting in the EFC and South Africa, and they’d done so much for me.
“The thought was to go to the UFC, but I’m 35 and I’ve already had people talk to [UFC matchmaker] Sean Shelby and the guys over there and they don’t want someone my age over there. They don’t want to invest in a guy who is 35 because we’re old hahaha.
“I think they like my fights, they like what I do. I fight hard, I do my thing. But if there’s no growth, why continue you know? I’m a guy that always wants to move up and always wants to continue to be great. So if I’m not moving up, I got to move on. I got as high as I could.”