In an age of MMA where former great athletes are being forced into retirement in brutal fashion, Chris ‘Lights Out’ Lytle (31-18-5) determined his own retirement and went out with a decisive victory. In the main event for UFC Live 5 this past Sunday, ‘Lights Out’ tapped out Dan Hardy (23-10-0, 1 NC) with little time remaining in the third round to cap a career that was built on post fight bonuses.
Chris Lytle’s career can be defined by his ability to stand with an opponent and trade punches, but his underrated grappling skills have many times proven useful in attaining wins and bonuses. ‘Lights Out’ has been awarded with bonuses 10 times in his UFC career in all three bonus categories: “Fight of the Night”, “Submission of the Night”
and “Knockout of the Night”. Lytle’s swan song at UFC Live 5 was no different as he captured two $65,000 bonuses for “Fight of the Night” and “Submission of the Night”, not to mention a new Harley-Davidson Motorcycle, at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee on Sunday night.
The MMA career of Chris Lytle has been one of both triumph and tribulation. In his earlier days he made his way up to the UFC for UFC 45 only to lose via unanimous decision to Robbie Lawler. That loss would send Lytle bouncing around the UFC, WEC, and even some smaller promotions until he would find his way into the UFC for good with his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter 4: The Comeback. Lytle would make it to the finale to fight Matt Serra for the title of TUF champion, but would lose via split decision. Lytle’s picked up his fifth win in six fights by choking out the ‘Outlaw’, but recovering from injury before the Hardy fight would prove to be the end for ‘Lights Out’.
After tearing his right meniscus, Lytle had to spend considerable time recovering at home with his family and claims that his desire to train had been considerably lacking coming up to the fight and made it clear as to why.
“Honestly, for the first time ever, I didn’t want go to the gym. I wanted to stay home and spend time with my family. I had to force myself. It’s like, ‘I can’t do it. Dan [Hardy] will beat me to death if I do that.’ I made myself go, but it was tough. When that was going on, I knew that I had no choice. This ain’t the kind of sport that you do if you don’t want to be there, and I felt like that was starting to slip. I knew I had one more in me and that was it.”
Although ‘Lights Out’ never made his way to a UFC championship, he will forever be a fighter that fans loved to see make an appearance on any given card. Winning five of his last six fights and retiring to be with his family isn’t bad either.
“I’ve never seen anybody leave the sport on good terms, with wins,” Lytle stated. “Everybody goes out when they get knocked out three times in a row. I wanted to be the only guy to ever go out on a good streak, and hopefully I did that.”