Former UFC veteran Rich Clementi has announced his retirement from the sport after his loss in the Bellator cage this past Friday night.

Clementi had been competing in Bellator’s seventh season welterweight tournament and made it to the semi-final stage, but was then beaten by Marcin Held to caught him in a toe-hold submission.

Unfortunately that finish aggravated an old ankle injury while also damaging one of his knees, and so at the age of 35 and with almost 70 fights on his professional record, Clementi quickly came to the conclusion that this was the right time to hang up his gloves.

“Well, I guess this day had to come some time,” Clementi told his followers on Facebook. “Just wish it could have been on my terms but then again we all know that wouldn’t have happened because I would have always wanted just one more time under those lights.

I am so grateful for the things this sport has taught me. The friends, experiences and most of all learning who I am. I am so lucky I have a platform to share these experiences and help others try to reach [their] dreams. I want to thank everyone that has helped me in this experience.

Now it’s time to turn the page. That’s life and now the same drive will be passed off towards my guys and now I will be able to give more of me to them. I am very excited to see what the future has in store for me.

I will update my condition when my MRI comes back. Surgery a must just not sure about some of the other issues. Doc said my body has been around the block a few times. I can only smile.”

Clementi’s 45-22-1 career spans over 13 years and saw him feature in dozens of different MMA promotions, but it’s time in the UFC that he’s best known for.

He first appeared in the Octagon in February 2003 and it threatened to be a short visit after he lost to Yves Edwards, resulting in a three-year absence from the UFC.

‘No Love’ kept fighting during that period though, putting together a solid 13-3-1 record that lead to him being offered a spot on the comeback season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF 4). That was his foot back in the door, but he had to ride his luck a little as he would go on to lose his preliminary fight against Shonie Carter and again during the season finale against Din Thomas.

The UFC kept him around though and he’d repay their faith in him by producing wins over notable fighters like Anthony Johnson, Melvin Guillard, Sam Stout and Terry Etim before eventually bowing out with a 5-5 record.

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