WATCH: The Dublin brawler discussed retirement and anxiety with Off The Ball tonight...
On Sunday night Neil Seery ended his professional MMA career, bowing out with a 16-13-0 record. He joined Off The Ball this evening to discuss his time in the octagon and his experiences of anxiety during the final years of his career.
He revealed that he had his first panic attack when he came home from Las Vegas after his 2015 loss to Louis Smolka at UFC 189:
"I had a massive panic attack, massive. It took over a year and a half of my life," he told Joe Molloy and Kevin Kilbane.
After years of brawling, the then 35 year old started to fear the effects that shots to the head would have on his mind and body.
"I'm in a downward spiral here, there's nothing that can save me," he thought as he learned more about conditions such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
He began to experience dizzy spells and a series of other symptoms. Seery made frequent visits to Dublin's Beaumont Hospital where he was told that this was due to anxiety - all of his brain scans showed no damage.
Time to step aside for the new generation thanks for the fight and best of luck in the future pic.twitter.com/1CQNFdFhkY— Neil 2 Tap Seery (@NeilSeeryMMA) July 16, 2017
"There's nothing wrong with me, I'm not stressed out of my head. There's something wrong with you," he remembers telling the medical staff when they told him that his symptoms were not due to physical damage.
"Instead of taking all the information and learning from the information, I just saw a black hole and decided to jump down the hole," he reflects.
"That was the reason I was retiring, I've got this fear now ... That this is all going to come back to me," he added.
Seery later decided he wanted to compete in one more fight to "put a dot at the end" of his career.
During the interview the Team Ryano fighter also praised the work which Safe MMA are doing to screen competitors, and advised young fighters who are pursuing careers as professional MMA fighters that "there's only one Conor McGregor," and that the odds of making real money in the octagon are minuscule.
Hear the full piece here, which covers the earliest days of Irish MMA, fear in the octagon, and his take on McGregor Mayweather.