UFC Fighter Stefan Struve Announces Retirement From MMA Due To Health Issues

The tallest fighter in the UFC has announced his retirement.

Heavyweight fighter Stefan Struve departs the world of professional fighting with a record of 29-13. He shared the announcement on social media, citing balance and inner-ear issues as a large contributor to his reason for retirement at the age of 32.

“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. 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 BPPV [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’m 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 that I’m a father to my 5 month old son Tobi, [with whom] his mom and I have been able to spend all the time in the world recently, which I’m very thankful for. I want to thank all my coaches, my manager, training partners, and everybody else who has been a part of my career throughout the years. To all the fight fans, even [though] sometimes I had to dig really deep I had a lot of fun over the years, it was an honor to fight for you.”

Struve, a brown belt in BJJ, first announced his retirement in February 2019 after submitting Marcus Rogerio de Lima in the second round. However, he came back after admitting he’d made the announcement based on emotion. He lost his final two fights by TKO and KO, most recently fighting in October of last year against Tai Tuivasa. He had his first fight all the way back in 2005.


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