Pat Schilling, who competed inside the Octagon, has announced his retirement from MMA. The 24-year-old went 0-2 with the UFC, including a loss to Max Holloway in his last fight.
Schilling won his first five pro bouts. He made the announcement via his Facebook page:
When I began training and competing in mixed martial arts, I had the dream of fighting in the UFC. Cameras would be on me, I would experience fame, and I would get to compete on a level I have dreamt of since I was a small child.
I remember watching professional wrestling with my dad and brothers when I was a kid. Bret Hart was my favorite. I’d hear his music play and the crowd would begin to cheer for him. He’d walk down to the ring in all this glory, shaking hands and high fiving fans on the way, putting his trademark pink sunglasses on a lucky fan, who was certain to remember that moment for the rest of his life. I remember thinking, I want to do that. I want to be the guy everyone is screaming for. I wanted to bring that kind of positivity out of thousands of people.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I know I am not nor was I ever “famous,” but I had fans. People asked for my autograph and photos with me. I’ve done interviews from local websites to radio stations to national television. Best of all, I got to hear my theme music play in a huge arena like Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, see my name in lights, walk to the cage and high five the fans cheering for me on the way. I got to be center stage in the world’s premier MMA organization, the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Though I came up short in both of my appearances, what blew me away most was when, on the way back to locker rooms from the cage, fans were STILL leaning over railings, saying my name, telling me what a great fight I had. I got to see respect and admiration from kids for whom I could only hope to be a positive role model.
Before I’d ever get to that point, I would put in several hours of training every day while balancing a full time job. I’d fight through a demanding local mixed martial arts scene, gaining a few dollars at a time, and a few fans per fight to support “Team Thrilling.” The work was tough. I gave up a lot of other things in life to pursue this dream, and I reached its pinnacle. But now life has taken me another direction, and I just can’t meet the same rigorous expectations I placed upon myself when coming up through the ranks to be able to compete on the local scene and work my way back up. There are amazing people out there who push and motivate me, and there are unfortunately people who do the opposite: suck the energy and fun out of the game. Pulling the full time job and a full time fighting career is just something I don’t desire anymore. I want more time to spend with friends and family, and do things that continue to give me energy in life.
And with that, I would like to officially announce my retirement from mixed martial arts competition. It was an amazing, tough journey that I will never forget. And to my fans and supporters, you made the journey worthwhile. I love you all, and years from now, thinking about you cheering for me will bring me joy. You’ve helped me make incredible memories. I’ll still pop my head into gyms once in awhile, and I would still like to teach others what I have learned. I would also like to spend lots of time in my old wrestling room and help teach others the sport I love the most. Thank you all for everything. Let’s keep making the world a more positive place, in any way we can.
With love and admiration,
“Thrilling” Pat Schilling