TUF9 winner Wilks forced to retire

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5/14/12 10:07:25AM
TUF 9 winner James Wilks has announced his retirement from the sport.

The English welterweight, who earned a contract with the UFC after beating DaMarques Johnson in the final of 'The Ultimate Fighter: UK vs. USA', has been forced to end his career due to injury. He has not fought for 18 months.

"A few of you have been asking when my next fight is," Wilks said on Twitter. "Unfortunately, I have had to retire due to injury. Now coaching at Lightning MMA."

5/14/12 10:38:12AM
I totally forgot about him. Sucks he had to retire
5/14/12 11:30:42AM
That's pretty sad for anyone to have to retire because of stuff out of their control. Anyone know what the injury was?
5/14/12 11:53:46AM
defiantly sucks, especially cuz Damarcus is going to have a better career than him now, poor guy
5/14/12 12:19:44PM
I hate to see anyone retire due to injury. Glad to see his sticking around as a coach.
5/14/12 5:01:11PM
About five years after Wilks quit playing rugby as a teenager, a doctor pointed to an X-ray of his neck. He didn't know it at the time, but Wilks had fractured a vertebra about five years earlier.

"I must have been from rugby because I got asked when my neck got broken, and I said I'd never broken it, and then they showed me the X-ray," Wilks told MMAjunkie.com.

Despite that knowledge, he decided to launch an MMA career. The highlight of it came with his "TUF 9" championship in 2009, which began an eventual 2-2 run in the world's top MMA promotion with victories over DaMarques Johnson and Peter Sobotta. But the neck problem never fully went away.

"I had problems in a couple of the fights that I didn't really talk about," he said. "In one of the fights, I got hit, and the whole left side of my body went numb, all the way down to the toes."

He's now dealing with severe spinal stenosis, which results in an acute narrowing of the spinal canal. It can be a debilitating condition for regular folks, let alone a top-level athlete in a combat sport.

"My bones are touching the spinal cord," he said. "There should be a gap, so when you get hit, you've got some leeway for it not to cut into the vertebrae. But my vertebrae have grown from the front and back, and they're touching the spinal cord."
5/14/12 5:19:34PM
Man, that's brutal. Hopefully he will have a successful career in coaching.
5/14/12 6:09:04PM

Posted by FastKnockout

I hate to see anyone retire due to injury. Glad to see his sticking around as a coach.

5/14/12 6:20:10PM
Yeah...you know I thought he had some potential to, but battled some inconsistency--and I think this reveals the "why"...hopefully his gym does well.