38 year-old UFC heavyweight fighter Soa Palelei has unexpectedly announced that he’s decided to retire from the sport of mixed martial arts, bringing to an end a 13 year career.

Palelei is coming off a second round TKO defeat against Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva at UFC 190 in August and had only won one of his last three fights, but with an overall 4-2 record in the UFC so far with all four victories coming by way of strikes there was no real indication that ‘The Hulk’ was on the brink of retiring.

However, The New Zealander says it’s something that he’s been thinking about for some time and has come to the conclusion that this is the right time to hang up his gloves.

Read Palelei’s full statement on his retirement below.

“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” #ā€ˇWatchThisSpace #ā€ˇMuchLove”

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