Last night on “UFC Tonight” it was revealed that former UFC featherweight contender Mark Hominick is retiring from MMA competition. Although he was riding a rough patch in the octagon, Hominick was always more of a factor than his recent record might suggest. Due to his competitive nature, and intense desire and will, this definitely wasn’t a case of a “forced retirement” as it would be with others struggling to pick up a win. Hominick still has it, and can still compete at a high level. Instead, this was Hominick’s choice.
I am always impressed by someone like Hominick, who is able to walk away at the age of 30, even though there are definitely more fights out there for him, whether in the UFC or elsewhere. In a sport where you are risking physical harm every time you step in the cage (in addition to the training associated therwith), it is refreshing to see someone assess and line up their priorities, and walk away when fighting is no longer high enough on the list. Especially with a job as a professional cagefighter, as soon as the juice isn’t worth the squeeze, there is no doubt that moving on will seem like the right option. So kudos to you, Mark!
At the same time, I would like to thank Hominick for one of the best MMA moments I have ever had the pleasure to see in person. I skipped out on studying for law school finals for a weekend and made the trip to Toronto to be among the 55,000 or so people at UFC 129 in 2011. Along with the Couture-Machida fight, I will always think of Hominick and Aldo when I think about that amazing experience. Even I, as an American visitor to the great white north, got goosebumps when Hominick jogged to the octagon to “I’m Coming Home” for his title fight and the crowd went nuts.
Unfortunately for Hominick, this momentum was unable to translate into early success in the fight, as he ate many hard shots from Aldo. This led to a legendary hematoma sprouting up above Hominick’s eye, which was so bad that we could see it clearly from our cheap seats. I still am only 50% sure that there wasn’t an alien baby growing inside of that.
But then, just when it looked like Aldo would cruise through the championship rounds on the way to a relatively easy unanimous decision victory, things changed. The challenger was able to get on top of an obviously-tired Aldo and began to rain down blows that were doing real damage. I was on my feet, as were the other 54,999 people, cheering for every blow that landed, with the hope that somehow it would be enough for a finish. We really believed that he had a shot to complete a most improbable comeback. Although Aldo was able to withstand the barrage and take the decision, Hominick displayed immeasurable heart in those later rounds, and even took them on the judges’ scorecards, hematoma and all. After that performance, I promised myself that I would always be a Hominick fan. And I have been.
So Mark, thank you for that, congratulations on an inspirational career, and the best of luck going forward with whatever you decide to do!