"The Hammer" was only 34 years old and was just two fights removed from headlining a major pay-per-view (PPV) event against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
While the retirement was a shocker to those who didn't know the former Deaflympic gold medal winner, it definitely wasn't a surprise to top Muay Thai trainer Mark Dellagrotte. Hamill trained with Dellagrotte for the first time in the lead-up to his bout with Gustafsson and he could definitely see the writing on the wall.
Dellagrotte spoke with MMAmania.com during a recent appearance on The Verbal Submission radio show and he had quite a bit to say about the recently retired light heavyweight:
"Matt [Hamill] unfortunately only came [to train with me] for two days and the time that I spent with him was limited. I kind of got an indication from his coach Duff Holmes, he said to me, 'man, I'm not sure if Matt still has it. I know he's a fighter, he's been competing for a long time. I think he's a little burnt out. I'm trying to refresh his training. I'm trying to reinvigorate him.' Bringing him to me was part of that process, re-enlighten him, re-inspire him to do better things and Matt came to me. We did great things only for a couple days, of course, but we had a great rapport, we got a lot done in the two days that we worked together, but I think it was a little too late. I think Matt is a little burnt out and he's suffered a lot of injuries in his career. He's trained his camp with him as a person which is unfortunately uncommon nowadays. I think a lot of people refer to the fighter as a horse and keep the horse in the race and juice them up with whatever you've got to shoot them up with, cortizone, steroids, whatever to keep them going, keep the camp making money. That's never been my approach and I don't think that was the people's approach that handled Matt Hamill. I think they really care for him and I think that Duff, his head trainer, saw that and realized that ... maybe it was time to take a break, time to retire. We kinda saw that coming. I gave him what I could in the couple days that I could but I think at that point it was kind of a lost cause... I think it's time for Matt to step back, reassess who he is and what he wants to do in the sport and perhaps go forward or perhaps not ... Matt Hamill's gonna do what's best for Matt Hamill."
Was there any way that Hamill could have put his career back on track? Or did the combined losses to "Rampage" Jackson and Gustafsson convince him that he could no longer compete with the upper echelon of the sport?
For the full audio of the interview with Mark Dellagrotte, click here.