After nearly 16 years as a professional MMA fighter, longtime flyweight contender Ian McCall is hanging up the gloves for good.
On Monday’s latest episode of The MMA Hour, “Uncle Creepy” confirmed his retirement, two weeks removed from a nine-second KO loss to Kyoji Horiguchi at RIZIN FF 9.
“I’m retiring finally, I think people have been waiting for this for a long time,” McCall said (transcription via MMA Fighting). “I’m done. This sport has taken so much from me — I shouldn’t say it’s taken, I’ve given this sport so much. And sure, I was the best in the world years ago and sure, people keep bringing up my ‘Al Bundy’ moment about beating Demetrious (Johnson), ‘Oh, you’re the guy, blah blah blah.’
“I’ve had a good run, it’s been fun, but at the same time, it’s over. After enough shenanigans that I’ve been through, I think physically I could still do it. Physically I go in the gym, I train hard. I beat people up, I have a good time, I love doing it, but with my luck and I hate to be the guy that’s like, ‘It always happens to me, the bad things always happen to me,’ well they kind of do in this sport. … I’m not gaining ground, I’m not getting closer to being the best in the world. The steps are getting farther and farther away and I’m not in this to be anything but the best in the world. And if I cannot compete at that level of the best in the world, then it’s just not worth it for me.”
McCall started his career at bantamweight, competing both on the regional scene and in the WEC, before dropping to flyweight in 2011. This proved to be a pivotal decision for McCall, as he defeated Jussier Formiga, Dustin Ortiz, and Darrell Montague to become Tachi Palace Fights’ flyweight champion. In 2012, McCall entered the UFC’s four-man flyweight tournament, alongside Yasuhiro Urushitani, Joseph Benavidez, and Demetrious Johnson.
When McCall fought Johnson in the semifinals, the fight erroneously was scored a majority decision for Johnson, when in actuality it was a draw. This mistake was not caught until the post-fight, and instead of a “sudden victory” fourth round, which would’ve followed on the heels of a dominant round 3 for McCall, the two had a rematch later that year, and Johnson won a clear-cut unanimous decision.
Unfortunately for Ian, he would only fight four more times in the UFC, as numerous unfortunate circumstances either to himself or his opponent — ranging from injury to illness to family bereavement — resulted in this unbelievable stretch of nine bout cancellations from 2013-2017.
McCall was released from his UFC contract last year, signed with RIZIN FF, but his hard luck followed him to Japan, as his bout vs. Manel Kape ended in a doctor’s stoppage after his head grazed the ropes and he suffered a cut. The Horiguchi bout marked his first ever knockout defeat, and having previously indicated he’d retire if the injury woes wouldn’t go away, this is indeed his farewell from the sport, and unfortunately it wasn’t on a high note.
At 33 years old, Ian McCall retires with a record of 13-7-1. The last win of his career was by unanimous decision vs. Brad Pickett back in March of 2014.