Matt Serra was one of the most unlikely champions in UFC history. After going 4-4 in the UFC from 2001-2005, the New York native won The Ultimate Fighter 4 to earn a title shot against Georges St. Pierre. And at UFC 69 he pulled off the unthinkable, stopping GSP and taking the title. But since he lost the title back to GSP in 2008, Serra has fought three times and only won once. And after undergoing surgery to remove a rib and staying in the hospital for four days, Serra told Newsday that he has pretty much given up hope on ever returning:
"It's hard to say it," Serra told Newsday. "It's like you can't say it, even though it probably is true. I would love to put closure on my career with one last fight at the Garden, but at the same time, if that doesn't happen, I definitely consider myself done. It's hard to say the 'R word.' I might never say the 'R word.'"
"I really think I'm walking away," he said. "I'm going to be 39, I just had my rib taken out. I'm having my third kid. My schools are doing well. What am I doing, looking for another pay day? It's not really for that. I mean, it doesn't stink, but it's not really for that. Am I still trying to hold on for the glory? Glory is a drug, dude. I'm telling you, that's the problem. It really is. I know why guys can't walk away. I absolutely get it."
The article describes how Serra dealt with what he thought was a muscle pull, all the way up to the point where he went to the hospital and found out he had two blood clots in his arm and one in his lungs:
"Then I got freaked out," Serra said. "You don't catch that [and] after the lung, that stops your heart or your brain. Then you're done. I'm very fortunate to, basically, be here. Sounds kind of morbid. If I didn't catch that -- I was about to go to bed. I'm like, man, something's not feeling right."
The surgery was to alleviate pressure due to thoracic outlet syndrome. He's also on blood thinners for the next three months. In typical Serra style, he described his career situation with humor:
"An aging fighter?" Serra said. "You know, it's like an aging stripper, but not as funny. Not a lot of people want to see that."