Duff Holmes, head trainer for Matt Hamill, feels like his student just needs a little time away from everything.
Hamill, who announced his retirement after back-to-back losses to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Alexander Gustafsson, surprised many with his decision.
“Who’s to say? He’s gonna be 35 in October and in MMA years, it’s not really that old,” Holmes said. “So let’s say he takes a couple years off, he does some motivational speaking, he does some celebrity appearances somewhere and then all of the sudden the MMA money is ridiculous and they say, ‘Hey, we’ll give Matt a million dollars to fight (Michael) Bisping in Madison Square Garden.’ Matt would probably be like, ‘Alright, I’ll take one shot like that.’ Who knows? Nothing’s set in stone but for right now, it’s definitely the best decision.”
Holmes saw an accumulation of injuries start to take a toll on Hamill (10-4). “The Hammer” also won a gold medal at the Deaflympics.
“Well, it’s been coming. To be completely honest, Matt started his career at 28 years old, never even stepping inside the cage before, never even training one lick of mixed martial arts,” Holmes said. “He came in as a pure wrestler, was coming two tours with the Olympics, was coming out of Colorado Springs getting ready. That kind of training, his whole life from five years old all the way up to 28, all he did was wrestle.
“Every single fight, every training camp, we were working around some sort of an injury. His body just wasn’t giving it to him anymore.”
Someone very special and very close to Hamill, his daughter, pushed him to get back inside the Octagon.
“After “Rampage,” he mentioned, he thought, “Maybe this is it for me, maybe I want to walk away,’ and it was his daughter that said, ‘No daddy, you’re gonna do this one more time. You’ve got to give it at least one more shot just so you know for sure.’ We liked the idea, we said, ‘Let’s take a fight on short notice. That was we don’t have to beat you up in training camp,” Holmes said. “We’ll send you in there on pure instinct to see if that desire, that hunger comes back.’ As you see, it just wasn’t him and just doesn’t have it anymore, doesn’t want it anymore and good for him for recognizing that and knowing that he has options outside of the Octagon.
“What he’s done here is so remarkable. It’s gonna go down as one of the most amazing and inspirational athletic stories of all time.”
A movie, called ‘Hamill’ has been produced and details his early life and wrestling career. It won the Breakthrough Film award at the AFI Film Festival and will be commercially released later this year.