Long-time UFC heavyweight fighter Stefan Struve has announced that he’s retiring from the sport at the age of 32 due to ongoing health issues that have left him unable to compete in the Octagon.
Struve had previously had to deal with a heart condition that threatened to end his career several years ago, but he was later given the greenlight to continue competing.
Unfortunately, Struve has now revealed that he was diagnosed with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo after suffering a viral infection, and after discovering that it’s permanently damaged his vestibular system he’s had to accept that it’s now time to hang up his gloves for good.
“I was able to take my space and time the last couple of months to overthink this, so this time it really is for good,” Struve said in a statement released on social media. “I’ve had an inner ear issue I’ve been battling since May last year. I caught a viral infection that has damaged my vestibular system and the hearing nerve in my right ear. After new tests done recently we learned that the vestibular system is not working properly, the first conclusion in May was that it was most likely [Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo].
“Because of this I have also been dealing with vertigo issues, and also loss of hearing and tinnitus, a ringing noise in my ear. After I caught it in May things got a lot better, after a couple rough weeks at first. I was doing good although still experiencing some vertigo and other minor issues but my idea was, especially with the doctors telling me the issues would go away after a while, to just keep going and ignore it until it really was gone completely. Unfortunately during [my most recent] fight some of the issues came back after getting hit flush on the right ear, it was a punch that should not be an issue normally.
“After that fight I was having more issues again and the doctors scheduled new tests. Those, unfortunately for me, took a long time to happen because of the lockdown over here in the Netherlands. After these tests I was told the damage in the ear and the vestibular issues caused by the viral infection I’d been dealing with are most likely permanent. I have no big issues when I’m just doing my everyday things and, or, training on a normal level to be healthy and in shape.
“The extreme intensity I have put my body through in training camp to get ready for fights I can’t do anymore. At this juncture, I realize that it’s time to hang up the gloves for good, and my put my health and family first. I’ve had a long career and battled through multiple injuries, including a broken jaw and my heart condition. Pushing forward and training hard without listening to my body would be asking for real trouble in my opinion.”
“I am truly appreciative of the career and treatment that I’ve had with the UFC. Everybody in the organisation has always been amazing to me, so it is bittersweet to retire, but I also look forward to what the future holds for me and starting something new. I have to put my health first now, especially now I’m father”
A well liked fighter throughout his UFC career, Struve bows out of the sport with an overall record of 29-13, including big victories against the likes of Stipe Miocic, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva and Pat Barry.