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Stefan Struve reveals that health issues have forced him to retire from MMA

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Long time UFC heavyweight Stefan Struve announced he is stepping away from professional fighting.

UFC Fight Night: Tybura v Struve Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC heavyweight Stefan Struve has decided to call it a career. The 32-year-old Dutchmen took to twitter today to announce that he has, “decided to retire from professional fighting.”

Skyscraper thanked his fans for their support over the years and included a lengthy statement regarding his recent decision.

In his attachment Struve said that he was contacted by the UFC last week regarding a fight. Struve declined the offer and then decided it was time to retire.

Struve revealed that part of the reason why he chose to retire is that he has been battling inner ear issues. “I caught a viral infection that has damaged my vestibular system and the hearing nerve in my right ear,” wrote Struve.

He continued to say that tests revealed his vestibular system is not working correctly and that he has been suffering with “major vertigo” issues as well as hearing loss and tinnitus. After his symptoms subsided it was thought that Struve would make a full recovery.

Struve said he was experiencing all of this prior to his last fight, with Tai Tuivasa at UFC 254, in October. He said the damage he sustained in that fight aggravated the issue further.

After the fight Struve had more tests and was told by doctors that the damage to his inner ear was likely permanent. Because of this Struve said he can’t put his body through the “extreme intensity” required for training camps.

“At this juncture, I realise that it’s time to hang up the gloves for good, and put my health and family first,” wrote Struve. “I’ve had a long career and have battle through multiple injuries and health conditions, including a broken jaw and the heart condition. Pushing forward and training hard and fighting without listening to my body would be asking for real trouble in my opinion.

“I am 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 I’m father”.

Struve ended his statement by thanking all his coaches, training partners and manager. “To the fight-fans, even though sometimes I had to dig really deep I had a lot of fun over the years, it was a honor to fight for you.”

Struve began his pro career on the Dutch regional scene in 2005 when he was just 17-years-old. His US debut came a year later, a World Extreme Fighting, which he won via triangle choke.

After that Struve fought across Europe, amassing a 16-2 record that would earn him a contract with the UFC.

In 2009 Struve made his Octagon debut opposite future heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. Struve lost that fight via TKO, but rebounded with wins over Denis Stojnic (submission), Chase Gormley (submission) and Paul Buentello (decision).

Struve’s winning streak was halted by Roy Nelson in 2010, who beat the Dutchman by KO. Struve responded to that loss with a Knockout of the Night TKO over Christian Morecraft and then a TKO win over Sean McCorkle.

At UFC 130 in 2011, Struve took the next loss of his UFC tenure, succumbing to a Travis Browne superman punch. After that loss Struve had the most successful period of his career; reeling off four straight finishes over Pat Barry (submission), Dave Herman (TKO), Lavar Johnson (submission) and current heavyweight G.O.A.T front-runner Stipe Miocic (TKO).

After beating future champion Miocic, in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV: Struve vs. Miocic in Septembber 2012, Struve would experience a very inconsistent eight years inside the cage, punctuated by some devastating losses and injuries.

In 2013 and 2014 he suffered back-to-back losses to Mark Hunt (TKO) and Alistair Overeem (KO). After a win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, he lost to Jared Rosholt, and then beat Antonio Silva and Daniel Omielanczuk.

In 2017 Struve was TKO’d by Alexander Volkov. He then lost decisions to Andrei Arlovksi and Marcin Tybura. In 2019 he defeated Marcos Rogerio de Lima by arm triangle choke. After that win, Struve put his gloves on the Octagon canvas and signalled that this was his retirement fight.

However, Struve would return in both 2019 and 2020, taking a TKO loss to Ben Rothwell and, finally, the KO defeat to Tuivasa.

If this is the end of Struve’s career he finishes with a 29-13 pro record with 8 of those wins coming via way of knockout and 18 coming by submission. In the UFC Struve won Submission of the Night three times, Knockout of the Night once, Performance of the Night two times and Fight of the Night two times.