“I’m done with this sport” – James Krause announces his retirement from MMA competition

At the age of 36, James Krause is making a career. A professional fighter since 2007, he broke the news during his performance on Monday The MMA lesson.

“In the last week I’ve had a herniated disc – I have a herniated disc in my neck – and it’s been a real problem for me to deal with [UFC 277] Fight week,” he explained. “And I was close to just saying it officially. I find it difficult [say].

“That’s the problem with most fighters, it’s hard to let that go. It’s really hard to let that go. But I can tell you with almost 100 percent confidence that you will probably never see me fight again. And I’m fine with that. I feel okay with that.”

As a longtime high profile competitor, Krause has a deeper understanding of the fighter mentality. But he also sees a problem in this.

“I’ve said that so many times and that’s the #1 problem with the sport and fighters – it has to end at some point. It must. And professional athletics as a whole must come to an end. Soccer players don’t start playing until they are 50.

“There has to be an end to this and unfortunately we cannot choose it. Most of the time, our bodies figure it out. I’m lucky enough to be able to give my shot now and I can say it now – shit man you’ll never see me fight again.

“I’m done with this sport. I am happy with that. I don’t feel like fighting again. I really don’t. My wishes and my fulfillment have now shifted towards coaching. Moments like Brandon Moreno and the rest of my team fill me up. So you can call that my official retirement or whatever, but I have no plans to ever fight in the UFC again.”

“Winning is like a drug,” we’ve heard from many fighters, something Krause knows very well.

“Whenever you win, you get that dopamine rush. But whenever you lose, it’s the worst feeling in the world,” he explained. “And I think because of these fighters, coming from broken families and low-income households, they don’t have the right upbringing, so they identify with the results of their last fight. So when they lose, they feel like a loser; When they win, they feel like a winner.

“Sometimes it’s a day, sometimes a week, sometimes months, but the dopamine drip you get from winning wears off and you just want to feel like a winner again.

“Then when you fight again and lose, you feel like a complete loser — and when you feel like a loser, you just want to feel like a winner again. So you get stuck in this vicious circle and these guys don’t know how to get out of it.

“And we see it every weekend with someone who’s still fighting it, it’s like, ‘Why is this person still doing this?’ And that’s because — they’re stuck in this cycle of self-validation, and it’s just such an awkward place to be in.”

Krause also directs Glory MMA & Fitness in Missouri with notable students such as Jeff Molina, Julian Marquez and most recently former Flyweight Champion Brandon Moreno. According to him, he was able to make a good living and no longer needs the payday of fighting.

“I wanted to make three things out of it whenever I quit. I said I wanted to be financially free. I did that,” he said.

“To be honest I would probably lose money if I fought. I wanted to go out on my own terms. I didn’t want anyone to say, ‘Hey James, you lost three in a row.’ And I wanted to retire from the UFC. That was my three goals and I really wanted to win – a win in the UFC. For now, all three things are accomplished.

“If I were to fight again, it would jeopardize it for no reason. I don’t need the money. I don’t need the confirmation.”

Krause finished his pro career with a record of 28-8. He last saw action against Cláudio Silva in October 2020 at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, whom he defeated by unanimous decision.

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