It is hard for a fighter to retire. It is hard to know when to say when, to pick the right moment to put the gloves down and walk away for good.
For Jason William Day, the decision was made for him, by a driver rushing through a yellow light.
Day was riding his bike when the Range Rover crashed into him. Although he somehow escaped the accident with no broken bones, the soft tissue damage was extensive, particularly in his ankles. And while it would take some time for him to come to terms with just how significant the injuries were, Day’s career as a professional fighter was over. To make matters worse, the insurance company, ICBC, refused to compensate Day for his lost wages.
Anyone with enough grit, talent, and heart to make it to the professional ranks must truly transform themselves into a fighter. As Day says, “It is a passionate thing, you have to be all in.”
Once transformed into a fighter, it can be a struggle to morph back into something else.
When it became apparent that Day’s injuries were insurmountable, he took time away from the sport altogether. No coaching, no time in the gym, no UFC on the TV—Day left it all behind and spent a year managing a tavern in Calgary. He was then promoted to managing a night club, but as the night club was frequented by gangs, the promotion wasn’t exactly a step up.
But he is a fighter, so he fought to get his life back.
Returning to Vancouver, Day got back into the gym and continued to fight the insurance company. Just prior to going to trial, and after fighting Day for three years, ICBC lowballed him with an offer of $25,000. Then $50,000. Then $100,000. But the former UFC fighter was going to have his day in court. He won, with the jury awarding him $375,000.
However, because the accident was ruled 10% his fault, Day would receive $340,000. ICBC then appealed the ruling. In the end, Day had to settle for $225,000.
He then pursued another long held dream: acting. Acting had always fascinated him, so much so he took acting classes while he was an active fighter. Even then he had a notion acting skills might benefit him upon retirement. At the time, the path toward acting success made more sense than stunts.