The UFC is down a lightweight superhero today after Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino announced through his website he’d opted to not re-sign with the organization in order to concentrate on his family, his school in New Jersey, and rekindling his love of being a professional fighter.
“At this time I am choosing to take some time off and step away from the sport as a fighter,” Pellegrino wrote. “Over my most recent fights I have come to the realization that at this point I no longer can, nor want to make fighting my first priority.”
Elaborating on his decision, the 32-year old continued, “I want to take the time to regroup, refocus, and rethink what it is that I want to do going forward. I want to do things that I enjoy right now and refresh my mind. I want to concentrate on my BJJ game and improve it. I want to work on my boxing game and improve that also. I’d like to compete in some grappling tournaments again like the old days and maybe even try my hand at a pro boxing fight. I want to have fun training again, bottom line.”
Pellegrino was last seen in the Octagon on the wrong end of a Split Decision against Gleison Tibau this past March. However, according to Pellegrino, rather than basing the change in career on performance, his choice ultimately boiled down to spending more time with his wife and children after enduring the grind of competition for the past few years.
“Most importantly I want to spend more time with my family. My daughter is four years old and I can’t tell you how much of her life I’ve missed dedicating my life to training for fights. I did so willingly and I’ve made a lucrative career with the UFC, but I’m not sure I could ever say any amount of money was worth it. My wife and I just welcomed a baby boy and I can’t bare the thought of missing as much of his ‘firsts’ as I did my daughters.”
Before wrapping things up Pellegrino offered his appreciation to fans and made it clear he is content with whatever outcome his potential retirement may bring.
“It is bittersweet to possibly end my career on a loss and something I will have to deal with on my own, but overall it has been a rewarding eleven years for me and I want the end to be on my terms and no one else’s. It’s hard to make a decision like this, but I feel its best for me to step away for now and time will tell what the future will bring for me. I don’t want to retire, but I need to find myself and find my love for this sport again. Hopefully you will see me in the cage again, but if not thanks to everyone for the memories, it’s been an awesome ride.”
If Pellegrino has indeed seen the inside of the Octagon for the final time in his career he will exit Mixed Martial Arts with a 16-6 record and wins over a number of his respected peers including Josh Neer and Mac Danzig. He also notched a “Submission of the Night” winning victory over Fabricio Camoes in front of his home-State fans at UFC 111 in addition to “Fight of the Night” honors after a three-round battle with Thiago Tavares in 2008.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC