Brad Pickett was a minute away from ending his MMA career with a victory, until things took an unexpected turn.
The British fighter entered Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 107 to put an end to his 13-year career as a professional fighter, fighting short-notice replacement Marlon Vera on the main card of the event. The fight was going well for the hometown fighter as he had secured the first two rounds of the fight on the judges’ scorecards, landing the more damaging shots of the fight and controlling a good portion of the contest on the ground. In the third and final round of the fight, Pickett looked to be in route to a decision victory, but with just a minute remaining in the fight, Pickett was dropped by a head kick and finished with ground-and-pound.
Pickett very came close from walking away with a victory, and there could be a case made that he could’ve likely pulled off a win, if he’d wrestled Vera like he did in previous rounds. However, Pickett wasn’t going to play it safe and he’s content he went out brawling.
“It’s me, it’s my fighting style – live by the sword, die by the sword,” Pickett explained at the UFC Fight night 107 post-fight conference. “Like I said, I fight for the fans. I could’ve maybe, I didn’t have trouble taking him down when I went for the takedown, so I could’ve just taken him down laid on him and make it boring. But for me, I wanted to be in a typical Brad Pickett fight, and a typical Brad Pickett fight would’ve been to get up from that and kept on fighting, but unfortunately my age didn’t let me get up as quick as I could, you know. I told the referee before the fight, ‘let me go stiff,’ and I felt I was okay a little bit, but obviously I have to look at it back. I love [referee] Grant Waterman, and I know he’s got a job to do.”
Pickett believes the outcome of the fight only reassured his decision to walk away from the sport, as he believes his better days are over.
“It just shows basically I made the right decision before going into this fight,” Pickett said. “I was winning the fight for 14 minutes and then I got head kicked. And to be honest, the younger me would’ve chewed that up and just carried on going. So it’s definitely the right decision and obviously it’s not the fairy tale ending that myself and probably everybody else wanted. I think everyone in there was rooting for me to win apart from Marlon and his corner, but I’m happy for him, he gets to feed his kids.”
Now retired, Pickett leaves the sport with no regrets and hopes to stay involved in MMA, as he has several projects in mind that he wants to work on moving forward.
“This sport is my life, I would love to stay involved in the sport,” Pickett said. “One of my passions would be top open my gym in South London and pass my knowledge onto the young, aspiring athletes, and also, I love this company so I don’t know maybe if I speak to the right people there’s somewhere for me. I love this sport, this sport is my life and I definitely don’t want to leave this sport. I also run my own fight promotion, Rise of Champions, so I’m going to concentrate more on that now, which I had to put on hold because I had back-to-back fights, and now I have a lot more time on my hands.”