TUF 1 winner and former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin hasn't stepped in the cage for a while now, and is firmly set in retirement. In a recent interview on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani though, he made it clear that he didn't want to retire - but his body was just too beat up to fight. Griffin, who has been working with an organization partnered with the UFC to spread education about HIV lately, discussed the forced retirement and give his opinion on the current state of MMA judging. First, retirement:
"I physically can't (come back). I didn't want to be done, in the beginning. When I announced my retirement, that was actually when I was trying to come back and I realized, it just wasn't viable. It passed me by. My shoulder is done. I brush my teeth with my left hand now. That's just the way it goes. I can't shoot a basketball, I can't throw any kind of ball. I was right handed. The last three years, I was kinda fighting with one arm, on and off. My training camp was, I don't want to call itstyle, but it was Frank Mir style. It's like, I'm going to work on whatever hurts the least today. What are we doing today? Well, what's not broken today? That's what we're going to do today."
If you asked me today what my dream job is, it'd be to be a UFC fighter. That's what I want to be when I grow up. Nothing will ever take that place.
"But it's just not physically possible. You have to move on with your life at some point. You don't quit fighting, fighting quits you at some point. It's very unfortunate, but that's the nature of the beast. And that's one of those things, too, that I like to tell young fighters. Have a backup plan. When you're walking into the cage, on that day, on that week, you're a world champion. You're Anderson Silva. You're going to retire from the UFC as a champion and have plenty of money. Fine. But when you get your check and you go to the bank, start to think like Forrest Griffin. What am I going to be doing in five years? Is it realistically going to be fighting? This is not a forever job. This is a young man's game, and at 36, I'm already done. Everybody thinks they're going to be Dan Henderson. You're not."
On the state of judging in MMA:
"Did Johny Hendricks get screwed? Maybe a little bit, but it's not the worst thing I've ever seen in MMA. It's not a fixable problem, is what I'm saying. You're doing the best you can. ... It's just, there's so many flaws in the judging system. You can change the system, you can change the scoring system, you can make it like Pride where it's the totality of the fight -- whatever the hell that means -- but it's always going to be difficult.
"I'm not saying it works. I'm not saying it doesn't work. I'm just saying, I haven't seen, laid out, detail for detail, the better system. I'm still looking for it. Pride wasn't the better system. I haven't seen a better system in Europe, I haven't seen a better system in South Africa. You show me a better system and I'm willing to get onboard. But I just need to see that system before I abandon this one."
He also believes ex-fighters shouldn't be judges:
No, they shouldn't, because they're biased towards the way they fought. I'd be biased towards more active guys that maybe didn't have a lot of power, because I never had a lot of power. You have those main biases that you cannot strip away. ... I don't care who you are. Me andare not going to see eye-to-eye if a kickboxer fights a wrestler.
"I just got to know [a few judges] recently, and they watch tapes. They've seen every fight. They've seen as many fights as you, and more fights than me. So that's how you learn. You learn just by watching. You don't have to do it."
He discussed much more, including the need for fighters to have a career back-up plan and how TUF has evolved since he was on there. You can check it out here.