Stefan Struve Announces Retirement From MMA Due To Health Issues

Mandatory Credit: MMA Junkie

Towering UFC heavyweight contender, Stefan ‘Skyscraper’ Struve has today officially announced his retirement from professional mixed martial arts with immediate effect — citing health issues as the reason for hanging up his gloves.

An almost sixteen-year professional veteran, the 32-year-olds holds a 29-13 professional record and most recently made a return to the Octagon in 2019 after penning a six-fight deal with the promotion following a prolonged period of contemplation on his fighting future.

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Releasing a statement this morning confirming his retirement, Struve noted an inner ear health issue as the reason for his decision to hang up his gloves on a permanent basis.

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 (retirement),” the statement read. “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].

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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.

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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 finally hang up the gloves for good, and 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.” (H/T MMA Fighting)

Diagnosed with an enlarged heart back in 2013, Struve had initially announced his retirement from mixed martial arts competition back in February of 2019 — following a submission victory over Marcos Rogerio de Lima.

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Calling time on his retirement, detailing how his decision was made during an emotional time for him, the Dutch grappler returned for a pair of matchups against Ben Rothwell, and at UFC 254 in October, Tai Tuivasa — dropping knockout defeats in both outings. 

An Octagon feature since February of 2009, Struve amassed a 13-11 promotional record. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt holding an astonishing eighteen submission successes, Struve has bested the likes of Paul Buentello, Pat Barry, Lavar Johnson, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antonio Silva, and in September of 2012, took home a unanimous decision victory over current undisputed heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC Fight Night Nottingham.