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Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Rant on Kenny Florian's Retirement Letter


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. They are in no way representative of any of the groups, organizations, or individuals with whom I am associated. That's always the case, but I feel the need to be extra clear about it here, because I need to get some shit off my chest. 

*End Disclaimer*

When I first saw UFC fighter Kenny Florian's open letter about his retirement from competitive fighting, I was disappointed. Then I thought about it a little more, and I was sick. And finally, I was angry. I still am.

Kenny could you?

A long love letter to all the people who trained you and brought you to the level you're at, and you couldn't find room to write one sentence about Sityodtong? Not even a WORD?

Look, I understand that when you left Sityodtong, it was a not a pleasant parting. I understand that you and Kru Mark had your differences. If you don't feel the need to say something nice about him, then that's your choice. I won't say I understand it, but I get that you're not really hot on Mark Dellagrotte these days. Maybe you just relished one more opportunity to take a shot at Mark, even if it was a shot by omission.

That's not why I'm pissed.

I'm pissed on behalf of every other person at Sityodtong who ever trained with you. Because you didn't just ignore Kru Mark, you ignored and disrespected every single person who put time in the ring or on the mat with you.

You say that " Literally every person [you] have ever trained with has taught [you] something." Yet you couldn't spare a sentence for Kru Yodtong and Kru Toy, who opened up their camp in Thailand to you? You couldn't spare a word for Tateki, Andres, Jimmy, Louis, Jay, Mike, Dat, Leon, Sean, John, Gresh, Paul, K-9...hell, I can't remember all the names. Half of them probably are gone. You couldn't spare a word for one of them? You're telling me that not a single one of those kids (and some of them were kids) deserves acknowledgement? Not a single one of them taught you something?

Hell, there were guys who used to just hang around the gym to watch you train and grab a water bottle for you between rounds. You couldn't say something about one of them?

Fuck dude. You remember Eric Armington? You know, the man who you said "was a good friend and taught me so much of the details and intricacies of muay thai." A man who we came together and mourned as a family? Eric was dead and gone when you left Sityodtong. He died believing in you. Believing that you were a friend and teammate. He never was part or parcel of whatever came between you and Mark.

If you couldn't have honored anyone else, couldn't you at least have honored him?

Kenny, I haven't paid much attention to your career since you left Sityodtong. I don't know much about who you've become since then. But I remember that when you were part of Sityodtong, you always said you wanted to be an ambassador for the sport. To show people that MMA wasn't just a bunch of thugs; that we retained the honor and tradition that have always been associated with the martial arts.

And here you are, writing an open letter that is a slap in the face of a generation of men who trained with you. And a piss on one man's grave.

Is that how you want to represent MMA?

To this day, when people find out that I coach at Sityodtong, they ask me about you. Despite all the time that has passed, in many people's minds, you and the name of Sityodtong are forever intertwined. Did you really think people would just forget that?

This is sad man. It's sad, and it's sick, and it's wrong.

I'm not asking for you to write a glowing review of Sityodtong. I'm not asking you to give all credit for everything you learned to Mark, or Eric, or anyone else. All I'm asking is that you actually have the integrity to acknowledge where you spent a great part of your career.

I'd like to think you'll make it right, but I doubt you will.

Prove me wrong. Please.

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