Jamie Pickett breaks down UFC retirement: ‘I want to play with my children when I get older’

LAS VEGAS – The theme going around at UFC Fight Night 238 on Saturday seemed to be “Family comes first.”

Tyson Pedro announced a somewhat surprising retirement after a decision loss in the co-main event, and a few fights prior Jamie Pickett did the same thing. Pickett (13-11 MMA, 2-7 UFC) dropped a decision to Eryk Anders (16-8 MMA, 8-9 UFC) to close out the prelims at the UFC Apex.

At 35, the North Carolina native said he wants to focus on spending time with his kids.

“I’m retiring. I knew it coming (into the fight),” Pickett told MMA Junkie and other reporters backstage after UFC Fight Night 238. “I was going to go out of here and leave it on the table and win. I have some issues I just don’t talk about. I’m not one of those people to make excuses about anything. If I lose a fight, I lost a fight. It doesn’t matter who it is about, what it is. … My losses are my losses, but I’ve had some problems for a while and I just don’t like to talk about them. I want to play with my children when I get older.”

Pickett wrapped up his UFC run with five straight losses, and it seems all of them could have an asterisk by them for him in terms of outside-the-ordinary fight things that happened.

He took a short-notice fight against Kyle Daukaus that was such a quick turnaround it was at a 195-pound contract weight. He lost by submission to start his five-fight skid. He lost to Denis Tiuliulin not long after Tiuliulin lost a point for a low blow.

He had to wait out a Bo Nickal injury and reschedule with him for what ultimately was a submission loss. Against Josh Fremd this past August, Fremd missed weight by three pounds. Against Anders this past Saturday, he finally seemed to have a “normal” fight, and he even knocked Anders down in the first round.

“I’m not a person to make excuses and land on a crutch,” Pickett said. “I’ve never done that in my whole life. I’ve took the hard way around, everything I’ve ever done. I’m a hard worker, and I do what I have to do to make ends for my family. I’ve got a 6-year-old, and I’ve got kids that count on me, my little girls, and I want to be a positive role model in their lives.

“I want to show them, I want to help them, guide them through life, navigate through the world, and I can’t do it if I’m messed up from fighting. I’ve talked to two doctors about things. My body’s just not holding up. I love the sport. I’m very appreciative that UFC let me fight out my contract. If they came right now and told me they’d give me another two contracts, the answer would still be the same.”

Pickett got into the UFC through Dana White’s Contender Series in 2020 with a second-round TKO win. In an absolute rarity, Pickett’s DWCS win came in his third shot. In 20127, he was submitted by Charles Byrd. Two wins later, he got another shot, but dropped a decision to Punahele Soriano.

But the third time was the charm, and it led to nine fights in the promotion starting when he was 32.

“I’ve done everything I could do,” Pickett said. “I got in the UFC late, and I tried my best to make up for that. … I took care of almost every fight they’ve ever asked. I took it on short notice – I took it on seven days’ notice. I never said no, except for one time (against Alex Pereira), because I wanted to be something in this sport. But I got in a little too late, and I’m pretty banged up.

“Tonight, I tried to give everything I had. I wanted to put on a show for the fans. I wanted to make people where I’m from proud. I come from a very small county. I went from a troubled kid to someone who’s looked at as a role model. I’ve done a lot from where I’m from. It might not be a lot to a lot of people, but where I come from, it’s a lot. So, that’s it.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 238.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie