Den kanadensiske bantamviktaren Nick ”The Ninja of Love” Denis gjorde sin UFC-debut på UFC on FX: Guillard vs Miller. I sin första match i oktagonen mötte han Joseph Sandoval, som han besegrade endast 22 sekunder in i den första ronden via knockout genom armbågsslag. ”The Ninja of Love” ställdes därefter mot Ultimate Fighter 14-deltagaren Roland Derlome. Den matchen slutade också i den första ronden, men inte i Denis fördel. Hans landsman ströp ut honom med en rear naked choke, som tvingade Denis till att klappa med endast en sekund kvar i ronden.
Efter att ha forskat kring hjärnskakningar på grund av egna erfarenheter i träning och tidigare MMA-matcher, har Denis konstaterat att han inte klarar av att ta slag på samma sätt som han gjort tidigare, och väljer att lägga av med MMA. Kanadensaren gav beskedet via ett långt och utförligt inlägg på sin blogg.
”In the last couple years, and especially in the last few months leading up to my May 5th fight, while sparring I would notice that when I got hit, it would affect me more and more. When I first started sparring I would run through punches unaffected. Not only that, but now training at Tristar, I am literally training with the worlds best. We are all training at the highest level, all for the same reasons. Could I fight in the UFC, against the best fighters in our solar system, literally trained killers, without sparring in training? Not really, so what was I to do? I have made the decision to retire.
Some might judge, but that is fine. Maybe I have already suffered brain injury, maybe I never would have. That is the problem with the brain. You can’t really see the injury, it will take years and decades to manifest itself. When you get rocked in sparring, you shake your head and regain your composure, and within 10 seconds say ‘ok, I’m good let’s keep going.’ But are you actually ok? You are no longer dizzy, true, but do you have any idea what physical trauma your brain has just experienced? I have told this to a few people before. I make the analogy of my love for MMA as being a drug addict- I know that it isn’t healthy for me, but holy fuck do I love it. I love MMA, and I have loved my experience with the UFC, Sengoku, and every other promotion along the way, but I am a human being first. I don’t define myself by my work, and nor should you. I am a human being, and I was born with only one brain, and I want to take care of it so that I will recognize the ones I love when I get older.
The decision wasn’t that hard to make either. Yes, I am deciding to give up a passion of mine. A passion that I have sacrified MANY friends and relationships along the way for. Instead of going out at night, or to parties or what not, I trained or stayed in to make sure I got enough sleep and healthy food for the next day of training. But in the end I know I will find other passions. I already have plans to build an earth sheltered cordwood home, it has been something I have been obsessing about lately. Which is good, since I have an obsessive personality. I have a big question mark as to what I will do for work now, as I don’t really have much desire to work in a lab research setting, but I will figure something out.”
Denis lämnar MMA med ett rekord på 11-3, där han avslutat alla sina matcher, tio av dem genom T/KO. Han gjorde sin debut i oktober 2006 och utöver två matcher i UFC har han även tävlat i Sengoku och KOTC.