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Ricard Almeida Retires from MMA After UFC 128 Loss

Ricardo AlmeidaUFC welterweight Ricardo Almeida announced his retirement from mixed martial arts on Thursday after the 34-year-old Jiu Jitsu specialist suffered a unanimous decision loss to Mike Pyle earlier this month at UFC 128:

As a competitor I can think of no bigger thrill than to stand in the center of the octagon with my hands raised. During these almost four years it has been a personal struggle to find balance between my fighting career, caring for my son who was diagnosed with autism soon after I signed a six-fight deal with the UFC, teaching at my growing Jiu Jitsu Academy and the family duties we all have.

MMA is a great sport but also physically and mentally unforgiving. It is a dangerous task to step in the octagon, specially if your focus is not at 100%. After much deliberation since my fight at UFC 128 I have decided to step away from the sport as a fighter.

I will continue to fully support the UFC as a coach and of course as a big fan. I would like to thank Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White for their leadership and vision which brought the sport to new heights. I would also like to thank Joe Silva for giving me the opportunity to compete among the best martial artists in the world.

Renzo Gracie, Mark Henry, Frankie Edgar and all my teammates who I could not have gone through this challenge without. Finally I would like to thank my wife, children and family as well as my students. You will have my integral dedication from here on. Lastly the fans who make MMA the greatest sport there is.

Almeida (13-5) returned to the UFC in 2008 nearly four years after his last fight and won four of his first five bouts, including wins over Kendall Grove and Matt Brown. After a surprising first-round submission loss to former champion Matt Hughes in August, Almeida rebounded over TJ Grant in December before falling to Pyle.

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