15-Time UFC Veteran James Vick Announces Retirement Following Fifth Straight Loss

By: Tristen Critchfield
Feb 3, 2021

James Vick couldn’t right the ship on the regional scene, and now “The Texecutioner” is calling it a career.

Vick returned to action after more than a year away this past Saturday at XMMA in Palm Beach, Florida, where he suffered a second-round technical knockout loss to Bellator MMA veteran Andre Fialho. The 15-time UFC veteran absorbed at least 20 punches in the finishing sequence, and he says the injuries suffered in the bout were enough to convince him that he’d fought his last fight.

“[A] few days ago I took the worst loss of my career,” Vick wrote on Instagram. “I went out on my shield like I always have, like a warrior. I am very sorry to everyone who helped and believe in me so much this last year. The truth is I haven't felt that passion/love for fighting the way I [used] to in a long time. But I have always been disciplined and trained hard no matter what. One of my main reasons for still fighting was to prove to my son that you can't just give up when things get hard in life. But this is not the way to teach him that. This is not like failing a test or losing a basketball or football game. This is combat sports and this shit can be permanent.

“One of the last punches he landed, I knew something was seriously wrong,” Vick continued. “I’m glad the ref stepped in because lord knows I would have been to tough and dumb to do that. My orbital is broke on my right side, the fracture went all the way through to the other side causing a bilateral break, plus my jaw is completely displaced, so tomorrow they are finally doing surgery to fix it. It really was a perfectly placed shot.”

The setback marked Vick’s fifth consecutive defeat in MMA. The previous four occurred under the UFC banner — including KO losses to Niko Price, Dan Hooker and Justin Gaethje. Prior to that rough stretch, Vick made name for himself at 155 pounds, winning nine of his first 10 Octagon appearances to emerge as a contender.

“The doctor said I could definitely fight again after this if I wanted to, but this was my last fight,” Vick wrote. “I can't keep putting my family through this. I have reached the top of where I was going to get in combat sports in becoming a top 10 fighter in the UFC. Honestly that was probably a major overachievement considering I didn't even start training until I was 20 [years] old, worked a full-time job for almost half of that and had several major surgeries after that. Trying to catch these guys that have trained their entire lives has seriously been the hardest thing I have ever done. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows.”

Vick, who turns 34 this month, ends his MMA career with a 13-6 mark. He made it to the semifinals on Season 15 of “The Ultimate Fighter” and notched notable wins over the likes of Jake Matthews, Joseph Duffy, Ramsey Nijem and Francisco Trinaldo during his tenure with the Las Vegas-based promotion.

“Thank you to anyone who has been there to support me, teach me or cheer me on along the way,” Vick wrote. “I have made life long relationships in this martial arts journey I will always be so grateful for. It bothers me that my 3-year-old son has to see his daddy with his jaw wired shut for 4 to 6 weeks because of all this. He is so little and doesn't understand. Time to move on and focus more on my family and raising my son to be a great man. Thank you everyone and thank this sport for the memories.”

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