Jared Hamman was supposed to fight this Friday night, but he won’t.

The California native was looking to make a comeback after being released by the UFC in autumn of 2013. Hamman was scheduled to fight for the Colorado-based Prize Fighting Championship, but an injury derailed those hopes.

“I had a slight rupture in my ACL,” Hamman told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “I had a guy’s back and I had my hooks in and he just twisted. My foot didn’t go the right way and I ended up with the ACL rupture and some torn calf muscles.”

Hamman is no stranger to injuries. A hamstring injury kept him out for an extended period of time while he was a member of the UFC roster. When he felt his leg give out this time, Hamman feared the worst again.

“My first thought was I didn’t want to have surgery,” Hamman confessed. He got a second opinion from a doctor, who relieved his stress and said he didn’t need to go under the knife. He still isn’t fully recovered, but he’s getting there.

“I’ve been throwing hands and sparring a bit,” Hamman said. “But it’s still not 100 percent. My foot is actually still numb.”

The injury has given Hamman a bit of time to reflect on the direction of his career. Although he would still love to fight for PFC because of how great the promotion has treated him, he also has some interesting ideas about where he could be headed next.

“I’m actually looking to get into some pro kickboxing,” Hamman revealed.

It might seem like a bit of a bomb to drop for a UFC vet who just had a fight lined up, but kickboxing has actually been on Hamman’s mind for quite some time.

“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do more of ever since I got into MMA,” Hamman explained. “Six months into training, I had my first pro MMA fight.”

That debut came in 2006. Hamman spent the next three and a half years climbing his way to the UFC and the next four competing inside the Octagon. Although his fight career has centered on mixed martial arts, kickboxing has always held a special place in Hamman’s heart.

“It is what I love. It’s my passion. It’s what I coach,” Hamman said.

After the release from the UFC and this most recent injury, Hamman talked to his coaches and management about making a move to kickboxing. He is excited for this new chapter, and although he wasn’t happy about his UFC release, it has almost been like a new lease on his career.

“When you are a part of the UFC, you can’t do any grappling tournament. You can’t do any kickboxing,” Hamman explained.

There’s no time like the present for Hamman to pull the trigger and fulfill his desire to compete as a kickboxer. The sport has experienced a recent resurgence in the United States, which has Hamman excited. The Glory World Series has a television deal with Spike TV, and the ratings have been rising since the promotion made its debut on the network.

“[Fighting there] would be cool,” Hamman admitted. “It would also make the most sense. We still have to get paid as fighters.”

Glory has really opened the door for fighters who are primarily known as strikers to still make money away from strictly doing MMA. UFC veterans like Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Dustin Jacoby and, most recently, Pat Barry have joined the promotion’s roster. Barry might even end up being a bit of a trailblazer. Last week, the heavyweight announced that he was walking away from MMA after struggling to find a passion for the ground aspect of the sport.

Hamman has had to go through some struggles of his own. He lost three straight leading up to his exit from the UFC. A stretch like that will make any fighter question himself.

“It’s really hard not to get down,” Hamman confessed. “But that’s what sports is about. You really find out what you are made of.”

The release didn’t just get Hamman to start thinking about kickboxing. He had to think about what he was going to do on the back end of his MMA career. Coaching and using his faith to speak with the youth are certainly at the top of “The Messenger’s” list. Hamman has recently made the move from California to Colorado to join the Elevation Fight Team, and he has done a lot more coaching since making the transition to the colder weather.

“I was at Grudge at first,” Hamman said. “I didn’t have a problem with any of the coaches there, but I had to go where my training partners were.”

Now, fighters like Hamman, Neil Magny and Brandon Thatch all train out of Elevation. The move from California was even prompted by a similar motive. Hamman was originally a California boy training with Vladimir Matyushenko’s fight team.

“Vladimir and Antoni Hardonk were great coaches,” Hamman exclaimed. “I moved out here because I needed people to train with.”

Hamman loves his new gym, and he has taken the opportunity to do more coaching of young students and traveling around to different high schools participating in chapters of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“My mom and my grandma were the ones who raised me,” Hamman stated. “They were the biggest examples of hospitality and Christianity.”

Those guiding influences set an example for Hamman at a young age, which is why he feels drawn to the younger generation.

“I absolutely love talking to the youth,” Hamman admitted. “Growing up, I had a lot of guys mentor me, and now I feel it is my obligation to pass that along.”

Hamman may not be fighting this Friday night because of another injury, but his faith and attitude will help him get through this tough period. With a larger emphasis on coaching, going out and passing along his faith to the youth of America, and a hopefully budding kickboxing career, “The Messenger” still has a lot left in the tank when it comes to combat sports.

Jared would like to thank Team Elevation and head coach Leister Bowling. He would also like to thank Christ in everything that he does. Follow Hamman on Twitter: @jaredhammanMMA

About The Author

Trey Downey
Staff Writer

A Central Florida native, Trey Downey's interest in MMA came after a trip to Blockbuster and the rental of UFC 47 on VHS. He has been blogging about the sport since 2011 and hosted a podcast called The TD Experience focusing on football and MMA (touchdowns and takedowns). Trey studied radio and television at the University of Central Florida and will soon be attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Trey enjoys watching sports, pro wrestling and is an avid runner.