Even though his retirement from combat sports didn’t last very long, Uriah Hall still found himself in an extremely dark place immediately following his exit from MMA.
The 38-year-old last competed at UFC 276 in July, where he lost a unanimous decision to André Muniz. That was Hall’s second-straight loss, but prior to that he had won four fights in a row between 2018 and 2021.
“Prime Time” announced his retirement from MMA in August via a post on Instagram, where he thanked the UFC and Dana White for the opportunities provided to him dating back to his time on The Ultimate Fighter Season 17.
It’s an overwhelmingly common occurrence for MMA fighters to reconsider their plans to retire, so it came as little surprise to many fans when it was announced that Hall would be stepping into the boxing ring.
The 38-year-old was asked at the pre-fight media scrum ahead of his bout with former NFL running back Le’Veon Bell if changing sports was a planned move, but Hall revealed he had other things on his mind after retiring from MMA.
“I was in a weird place,” Hall said. “After leaving MMA man, I fell into a really deep hole. If I could talk about it, I fell into a deep depression. A lot of athletes, when you do something for so long that’s what you identify as. You’re a football player only, or you’re a fighter only. And people don’t see that. You walk outside and you’re like ‘Wait, there’s nothing else for me to do?’ And I spent the last 20 years of my life committing myself, my soul to one attribute. And then all of a sudden it’s gone, it’s taken away. It was some really dark, deep places. And luckily I had the right people around me to support me.”
Uriah Hall: “I Could Go Down A Really Dark Path”
Hall famously introduced himself to MMA fans during his time on The Ultimate Fighter, where he earned a spectacular spinning hook kick knockout against Adam Cella that quickly went viral.
After losing in the finals of TUF to Kelvin Gastelum, Hall never quite reached the level of success that was expected of him following his violent wins during the show. Nevertheless, “Prime Time” still established himself as a mainstay in the UFC’s middleweight division and earned some impressive wins such as his 2015 knockout of Gegard Mousasi.
Unfortunately for Hall, none of the success achieved during his MMA career was able to provide much comfort once he walked away from the sport.
“I mean when I say I felt depressed, I even – at one point I looked at my firearm like ‘Wait a minute, I could go down a really dark path if I don’t get out of this.’ And people don’t talk about that shit, you know? Depression is a real thing, and if you don’t have the right support group, support system, you won’t get out of it man. If you look at people like Robin Williams, all those type of people, you’re like ‘How the fuck did you kill yourself?’ I get it. At that moment I finally fucking understood. So, luckily I had the right people to get me out.”
Hall and Bell will both be making their pro boxing debuts after Bell knocked out fellow NFL running back Adrian Peterson in an exhibition bout in September. The pair will meet at 195-pounds as part of a main card that is headlined by Jake Paul taking on UFC legend and former Hall opponent Anderson Silva.
What’s your reaction to Hall revealing that he ended up being severely depressed following his retirement from MMA?