The MMA world lost two noteworthy fighters to retirement in the last few days — and now, there’s a third.
First came WSOF lightweight Nick Newell, who announced his retirement this past Saturday, shortly after his bout at WSOF 24 in Connecticut. The 29 year old Newell was an inspirational figure to many due to his ability to perform in MMA despite lacking a left arm. He described issues with his health as being the greatest factor to his decision.
Next came longtime Bellator standout Rick Hawn. The 39 year old former US judo Olympian simply said, “it’s time to hang it up” in an appearance on The MMA Hour after making martial arts his life for more than 20 years. In his last bout, Hawn defeated Pat Healy to win the Titan FC lightweight title — a a performance he called the best of his career. He retires with a 21-4 professional MMA record.
Yesterday, UFC heavyweight Soa “The Hulk” Palelei announced his retirement on Twitter:
I want to take an opportunity to officially announce my retirement from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Thank you to the UFC, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta and Joe Silva for giving me a second chance to fight for the organization. I’ve had a great time, but feel it’s time to focus on my family and other career interests. After several months of thought and discussion with my family and my team, we realize our future includes many things in MMA, but active competition in the sport is no longer one of them. This isn’t goodbye, as I will still be very much involved in the sport but just not as a fighter. I want to help further MMA around the world and give my contribution to the sport. I know that I have, and will continue to contribute much to the growth of our sport outside of the Octagon. Stay tuned guys as there is still so much more to come from “The Hulk” #WatchThisSpace #MuchLove
Soa "The Hulk" announces retirement… Read: https://t.co/Kh7abZowUO
— Soa The Hulk Palelei (@soathehulk) October 20, 2015
Palelei, 38, retires with a 22-5 MMA record including a 4-2 record in the UFC. Among his career highlights are a first round knockout of Pat Barry back in 2013, at a UFC Fight Night event in his native Australia. He made his final Octagon appearance in August of this year, suffering a TKO loss to Antonio Silva.