Fourteen years is a long career for mixed martial arts. In dog years, it's like 237 years, or something very comparable. The wear and tear that training and fighting in a sport that combines multiple disciplines tears a body down much more effectively and quickly than most other sports. Bearing that in mind, it didn't come as much of a surprise when former UFC welterweight champion, Matt Serra, retired last week. His last fight is almost three years gone by, and with a recent health crisis, the man they call the Terror is hanging up his gloves for good.
I'll admit it, as a longtime friend and fan of Serra, it bummed me out to know that I wouldn't get to see him fight one more time. I've been hankering for a Hughes rematch since about 10 seconds following the decision of their first fight, but alas, it is not to be. I know, I know, Matt Hughes retired too, but I still held out hope. I've always felt that there was unfinished business between the two, and to me, it's like a Christmas present that can never be opened.
The question now, is what's next for the 38 year old dynamo with the fastest speech patterns this side of the equator? I recently had the opportunity to get an interview with Matt, and he says the future is bright, and will most likely be within the comforting arms of his Zuffa family. It was a long interview, close to an hour, so I'll touch down on the high points of it for our readers. This will serve as Part 1 of a two part series. Be sure to check tomorrow for the conclusion of this great interview.
Blood Clots & Whatnots
Even a couple weeks prior to when I had to go to the hospital, I had this pain in my side. My doctor said, 'Ah, you've got walking pneumonia' or something like that. So, I took some antibiotics and it went away, but then it came back. My lungs were clear, so it wasn't pneumonia. It was on my right side, and it was so strange. When I was lying down I felt it. Your body knows, I mean it tells you that something ain't right. I couldn't even describe it.
I was in between primary care providers, so I went to one of those Doc In The Box type places, and the guy there was some genius. He was like, 'I know what you do ... are you sure you didn't get kicked in the side?' I'm like, 'I'd f*cking remember if I got kicked in the side.' Anyway, they didn't find anything.
I started training, and I blew up my arm one day after doing jiu jitsu. My whole left side like blew up, you know. You guys already know I had the torn bicep, so I look like f*cking Hellboy now. My arm's all big and shit. I figured I must have just pulled something. What the f*ck?!
I went to AC a few days later to corner some of my guys. The next day, I came back and I knew something was wrong. I didn't feel too good at all. My arm was all big and I was running a little bit of a fever. I ended up going to the ER and long story short, shit, this was a f*cking long story [laughs], they found two blood clots in my arm and one in my lung. That got kind of freaky because if you don't catch that in time, you're screwed.
They did a procedure where they dissolved the ones in my arm right there, by putting something in my arm. I was in the hospital for like four days. I still have the one in my lung, so I have to be on blood thinner, this Lovenox ... you've got to stick a needle in your belly every morning. I've got bruises all over. It's a good thing I don't have my abs of steel. I've got a little bit of paunch, so it doesn't hurt as much [laughs]. It sucks, though.
It could be worse, you know. I could be dead. Anyway, the reason why the situation was like that, is because I have something called, the thoracic ... [laughs]. It's so funny, because I kept forgetting how to pronounce it, and my wife is trying to tell me like I was f*cking retarded, 'It's like that comic book and that movie Thor.' It's the thoracic f*cking syndrome, or something like that (it's called thoracic outlet syndrome). 'Think of Thor, you like Thor.' It's like I'm a little kid or something [laughs].
So anyway, this thoracic syndrome, it's where my collar bone and my first rib was compressing one of my veins, and that was causing these blood clots. I had to go in there, well they had to go in there - what the f*ck did I do? I just went to sleep. They did a three hour surgery where they went in underneath my armpit, and they took out my first rib. So that was my week. It's decent timing though. Art least it didn't happen while I was fighting, and they say I'll be able to make a full recovery so I can do what I love, and that's training. Right now, though, I'm like Bubble Boy.
Maybe I should get Matt Hughes' job. Do you think the fighters would be more comfortable talking to me about their problems, or talking to that bible bashing jerk-off? I'm only kidding! [laughs] I'm not really kidding. I really can't stand that guy.
I wanna say something on the record here. Now that we're both retired, and I don't want to keep attacking the guy, but you know what's funny? After we fought, we hugged it out right there, and I never said a bad word about him. It was over for me. I was done. I don't want to talk about that guy anymore.
Then they came to my academy, the TV crew, and they said they wanted to do a special called Ultimate Matt Hughes. So I was like, alright, no problem. I did the right thing, and went on there for him. So later on, I'm sitting down, and I'm watching the show, eating with my kids, and all the sudden, he goes on this thing, 'You know that Matt Serra? He's the type of guy that when he walks into a room, he's just got to let everybody know he's there.'
I was like, 'This motherf*cker!' Here I am, taking the high road, I went on the show, I give the guy props, this and that. I mean, why would you do that? Why would you do that unless you want to unleash fury? Why would you do it? I was not mentioning the guy, I did the Ultimate Hughes thing, and he's sitting there, 'That Matt Serra, he needs attention. He needs this. He needs that.' Dude! F*ck off! Whatever.
I don't understand his role with this new job. That's the type of guy ... let me sum him up with this. We were in Vegas for TUF, and I don't know if he was writing blogs or what, he was doing something. I remember him saying 'We're here to coach, and I don't know if they're here to coach or go out or do this and that.' He made it like maybe we'd been going out at night, like maybe we were partying and stuff.
Listen to this, I did that TUF show two days after my honeymoon. My wife was there with me. The dude was trying to go against guy code, 'Well Matt Serra and them just might be out partying.' Dude! You f*cker! Who does that? That's the guy you want to turn to when you've got a problem? Get away from me dude, get away from me. I don't want to talk to you. I can't stand your ass.
You know what's funny, I shot Daner (yes, he says Daner) a text, after I did that story, and said, 'Listen man, I'm making it kind of official.' I mean we've talked about it before, like a year ago. We talked about what was I going to do, just certain things, and he definitely has ideas with stuff that I could be doing. He never had to talk to me in the tone that I took too much damage and needed to walk away, though.
He said, 'Look, you're getting older, and sooner or later you're going to have to walk away. I think you'd be great for this.' That's when I did those fighter camp interviews, which got a really good response. You know, the stuff that I did with Forrest and Chael. I did one with Tito, but it never aired.
Daner had that idea and some other stuff. The other day when I talked to him, he said, 'What about doing the post fight stuff on FUEL?' and this and that. I just don't see me doing that. I think you need the right vehicle for your personality, and I can't see me sitting there in a f*cking suit next to whoever, talking about Anthony Pettis' latest kick or something [laughs]. I just don't see it. I can't do it.
I think there's other stuff for me to do. I would rather be doing those fight camp insider things. I would rather be with Forrest Griffin, taking a shit in his living room and laughing with him, than sit there after the fights and talk about stuff. I don't think that's me.
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of this awesome interview!
You can follow Matt via his Twitter, @MattSerraUFC