Scottish UFC fighter Stevie Ray has announced his retirement from the sport at just 30-years-old due to injury woes.
“Basically I’m retiring from MMA because of my knee,” Ray said. “There was options to maybe get an osteotomy surgery, which means cutting the bone and putting plates and stuff in, but some athletes never, ever return after that because it’s quite a big surgery. It’s around a year of rehab as well and just at this stage of my career I wasn’t wanting to go through that.
“It’s been crazy. Eleven to twelve years this has been my life. That’s it. Wake up, train everyday, and fight a few times a year. Even that didn’t work out the best either, I fought an average of two times a year. A while back when I lost to Felder, I opened up my own MMA gym, Braveheart MMA, and started coaching, and even that was a nightmare to coach and also fight. Pretty much without going into too much detail I’ve decided to retire due to health reasons. The knee, I can’t compete at the level that I fight at and still — and there’s loads of people that said to me I should maybe have just fought a few more fights for a paycheck, which sounds alright going in, but again when you’ve made a name for yourself and to go in and lose a fight just for a paycheck, to go in and possibly get knocked out because I’m not able to train, I didn’t think that would even be worth it.”
Ray first entered into the UFC in 2015 after a successful stint in the Cage Warriors promotion, where he had been their lightweight champion.
Ray’s UFC run got off to a good start with five wins in his first six fights, but there’s been a distinct change in fortunes since then, starting with a first round KO loss to Paul felder and split decision defeat to Kajan Johnson.
He rebounded with a decision victory over Jessin Ayari, but then succumbed to another first round KO defeat again Leonardo Santos.
What’s proven to be the final fight of Ray’s career came in October of last year when he earned a notable majority decision victory over michael Johnson, which then set up a fight with Marc Diakiese, but he withdrew from the bout for undisclosed reasons in January and now he bows out of the sport with an overall 7-4 run in the UFC and 23-9 career overall.
Ray now plans to continue coaching at his Braveheart gym and also wants to manage other fighter’s too.
“I’ve dedicated my whole life to it and it’s hard to enjoy your life when the only thing you’re doing is putting all your time into fighting,” Ray said. “But I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve seen loads of different countries with the UFC, I’ve fought in different places, I’ve loved MMA. It’s still gonna be a part of my whole life, obviously.”