Saturday, December 4, 2021

Olympians Soa Palelei & RIck Hawn Retire From MMA

It feels like we’re starting to hear about a lot more surprise retirements as of late. When Costas Philippou retired a few months ago, for example, it came out of nowhere. Coming on the heels of that, two of mixed martial arts’ more unsung Olympic grapplers turned high level fighters have announced their retirements from MMA competition.

Former Olympic wrestler Soa Palelei, originally believed to be part of the UFC roster cuts because he was pulled from the roster, announced his retirement with a statement that he tweeted out using TwitLonger:

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

A borderline top 15-20 heavyweight with the scariest ground and pound in the sport, Palelei had a solid second run through the UFC before being being stopped by Bigfoot Silva in August. For some reason, the UFC rarely, if ever pushed his Olympic credntials. No, Australia isn’t a wrestling powerhouse, but that never stopped them before. Nicknamed “The Hulk,” e had gained a cult following for his fun-loving personality, wearing “Hulk Hands” to the cage and singing after fights.

Meanwhile, former U.S. Olympic Team judoka turned two time Bellator title challenger and reigning Titan FC Lightweight Champion Rick Hawn has also hung up his gloves. On The MMA Hour, told Ariel Helwani that “After giving a lot of thought, I probably just had the best fight of my career a few weeks ago winning the lightweight title for Titan. It’s been a long road. You’ve been around and seen me years ago in Bellator. I’m 39 years old, It’s time to hang it up.

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