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When they retire...

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Will they be ok?

In the comments section of a post yesterday on Fight Opinion, Jordan Breen claims Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is actually 80% blind in one eye.  Everyone knows Nogueira has been through a number of wars, most notably his fights with Fedor and Sapp.  And if Jordan is right, Nogueira's health is beginning to fade.  Peep the comments:

Dana can be interested in Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira all he wants. The guy ain't getting no license to fight in the US. Dude is practically blind in one eye.
and...
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has suffered severely with the site in one of his eyes in past years. Go back and look at the Openweight Grand Prix opener from last year. One of the guy's eyes is completely bluish gray with cataracts.

Anyway, as I understand it, after the cataract removal, he had like 40 percent vision or so in his eye. He was given the opportunity for some procedure which would either restore the vision in his eye, or harm it worse. It did the latter and now he only has 10-20 percent vision in one of his eyes.

And the source for this?  Take it for what it's worth:
A guy who knows the Nogueira brothers personally, and manages a variety of fighters in Brazil. I'd have no reason to call BS on the guy. I consider him a highly credible source.
All of this got me to thinking about what's going to happen when fighters retire.  I believe that this generation of MMA fans is going to be the first to really witness MMA fighters actually retire from an active career in MMA.  Not Tank Abbott's or Art Jimmerson's.  I'm talking about full on, accomplished MMA fighters.  Fighters who've made their living at the top of sport and must bow out either from career-ending injury or because they're past their prime.  And while MMA is still evolving, its fair to say the sport now truly encompasses virtually all the different elements of a fight.  The days where grapplers dominated or wrestlers could rely solely on ground-n-pound are over.  Because of improvements in talent, strategy, training, and rules, striking plays a much more prominent role these days.

These won't be fighters with losing records either.  Yes, other excellent fighters like Tsuyoshi Kohsaka retired, but he's a Japanese star and I bet only 1% of UFC fans even know who he is.  Moreover, a large chunk of his experience ('95 - '02) was in organizations with strange or outdated rules.  However, when Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture (re-retires), CroCop, Fedor, and Big Nogueira retire, we're going to finally see the extent of what full on MMA does to a person's body.  Historically, the idea that MMA is actually safer than boxing has been a selling point for the sport.  But I wonder just how true that really is.  The incidence of injury overall is higher in MMA.  While the top competitors may not have the brain trauma that career boxers do, I bet the toll MMA takes on the body in later years may be a lot higher than even the most loyal fan may be comfortable accepting.