Heavyweight standout Soa “The Hulk” Palelei announced on Tuesday that he is retiring from the sport of MMA. He made the announcement via his official Twitter account.
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”
Palelei (22-5) made his professional MMA debut in 2002. He would make his UFC debut in 2007 against Eddie Sanchez. He lost the bout via a TKO and would not return to the organization until 2013 when he defeated Nikita Krylov with a third round TKO. Palelei would compile 18 knockout victories throughout his career to go along with four submission victories. Of his 27 career bouts only one went to the judges’ scorecard.
Palelei is ending his career during a bit of a rough patch. He was only 1-2 in his last three bouts and last seen losing to former heavyweight title challenger Antonio Silva via a second round TKO.
Though he was never able to crack the top 5 in the heavyweight rankings, his personality and charitable work outside the octagon made him a fan favorite especially in his home country of Australia.