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Jimmy Flick on retiring early: UFC fighters are ‘too stupid to unionize’

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Jimmy Flick opened up on his surprising retirement, noting how in MMA, there’s too much risk involved, with not enough pay.

Jimmy Flick, who made a splash in his UFC debut by getting a first round flying triangle finish, surprisingly announced his retirement at just 30-years-old. The former LFA champ was on a four-fight winning streak, which included a submission victory at Dana White’s Contender Series.

While Flick established himself as someone to keep an eye on at the UFC’s flyweight division, at the same time, he also realized that the sport would take so much from him and it just wasn’t worth it anymore.

In his retirement speech, he noted that “the UFC is not my dream” anymore and that “the UFC is not looking out for me.”

Posted by The Corner & The Casual on Saturday, April 10, 2021

Flick is currently under his Contender Series contract, which starts with a $10,000 base purse. The former LFA flyweight champion says that he also works as a CNC operator, and earns $40,000 a year, with 401k and other benefits. After over a decade fighting professionally, he made it to the sport’s biggest stage and won impressively, but felt that he still couldn’t afford to quit his day job.

“There’s no benefits of beating my body up no more being in the UFC. We have no 401k. We have no benefits. We have no fallback,” Flick told MMA Fighting. “Fighters are too stupid to unionize, and it’ll never happen, because there’s other fighters that will fight for that money.”

What Flick touched on, happens with the UFC’s control of the market, where instead of the athletes working to get everyone paid better, fighters just have “reverse auctions” and bid each other down in hopes of getting a high profile bout.

That hinders fighter pay, and Flick noted how the amount of risk involved factored into his decision to call it quits. He says this became more evident when his opponent Cody Durden pulled out and rescheduled, then Flick ended up cutting a lot of weight twice in 12 days.

He managed to win by submission and get that discretionary $50,000 performance of the night bonus, but still realized the sport will take so much more than what he’s willing to give.

“You don’t bring much in, but you keep striving for more, but I keep losing more time with my family,” he said. “I’ve been bottling it up and using that to motivate me and to push. I don’t know what I’ve done to my body. Nobody knows what we do to the insides from the mental toughness, to the training, to the weight cutting.”

In the full interview, Flick also opened up on his family and tough upbringing. He detailed how he thought fighting in the UFC and sticking with mixed martial arts would help reunite him with his father and former coach. But once it “didn’t make a difference,” he only realized he was “fighting for all the wrong reasons.”

With his two main reasons not likely changing anytime soon, Flick believes that unlike many fighters before him, he will stick with his decision to retire.

“I’m 30 years old, and I did everything I wanted,” Flick said. “The desire was not the money, it was not the fame. By the time they do unionize, or me and my dad work things out, I think it will be too far down the road. I’m not the type that wants to come out of retirement.

“[The UFC] did everything they said they were going to do in their contract, everything I agreed to,” he said. “There was nothing I wanted more. It’s just the fact that once I got there, and I experienced it, I realized it’s only going to take more from me, and I’m still going to have to keep my job to take care of my family and my loved ones.”

Flick retires with a 16-5 record. In his retirement speech, he says he has three new goals now: to spend more time with his family, help his wife reach her goals, and to finish writing his memoir “to tell everybody why I did this.”