It didn’t take long for Kevin Holland to retire from MMA, but to the UFC heavyweight, that decision was all too real right now. What’s more, it seems that stepping away from the sport in the hours after he faced Stephen Thompson on the ESPN 42 fight card at Saturday’s UFC main event remains a viable option for the 30-year-old.
After losing to Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279, Holland wrote on social media: “I had a good 30 runs in a little over a month, I got paid.”
Then in early October she said, “So I’m retired. I am officially retired. I retired from fighting. I put up a good fight, a good payday, a good run. I see some people on the internet saying ‘maybe he realizes he’ll never get the belt’ and my little psychedelic journey means that I was wrong. I can’t be wrong on a psychedelic journey. I’ve lost opening up to Young Boy. That was my last hope, never to lose opening up to Young Boy. Tough times for your son.
“But I’m really happy on the green side. Unless something super tricky magical pops up, yeah, I’m pretty happy with the way things are going.
The next day, something super deceivingly magical appeared. The UFC gave him the chance to face Stephen Thompson in the Florida fight card main event.
Holland spoke about his short retirement ahead of Saturday’s fight card.
“(My retirement) was very serious – very serious,” Holland said at UFC Orlando media day. “It’s still on the table. If I wake up Sunday morning after beating ‘Wonderboy’ and you guys Chimaev are fighting for a 185 pound world championship and he hasn’t won any top 15 fights in 85, I’ll retire. I understand it’s business, but nepotism is nepotism. The boy lost weight. After I lost the weight I had to fight him and take steps to get the fight going. I shouldn’t have had to do this but I did what I had to do. I did what I had to do for a company man.
“So now I’m sitting here telling you that things have to go a certain way. If we don’t get what’s promised, if things we’ve talked about aren’t delivered, you better give me my resignation papers and let me go home and smoke pot. I’m going to play video games for the rest of my life. A twitch.” open it, see how I do it.”
The UFC initially booked the Netherlands against Daniel Rodriguez in a 180-pound average weight fight at UFC 279. However, the UFC moved a few fighters when Chimaev came in with 178.5 pounds for his scheduled heavyweight fight against Nate Diaz. One of the fights out of the mess was Holland vs Chimaev at 180 pounds.
When asked if he was referring to the promises made during the negotiations for the battle of Chimaev, Holland replied, “I said what I said and you know what I mean.”
The 30-year-old middleweight added that there are many things in the sport that he considers unfair. What angered the Netherlands most, however, was that the opportunities for the athletes seemed to be based on nepotism rather than merit.
“There are some things that don’t make sense,” Holland said. “At the end of the day, if we’re here, if we’re here to be fair, and we’re here to get even, everyone should have a fair chance. We’re warriors. We fight for what we want. We should be able to fight for what we want. If we fight the same way, we should get the same things. That’s how I feel. But shit. “I’m not here to complain, I’m not here to complain. I’m just here to do what I feel is right, and if I feel something isn’t right, fuck off, because that’s my job.”
“I’ve always felt that way,” Holland added. “But at the end of the day, I’ll do what I have to do as a company man. But still, you can only work in one place for a very long time before you start to feel something, and I always feel something, I just keep my mouth shut.
Holland vs. Thompson makes UFC headlines on ESPN 42 from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, December 3rd.