Almeida Retires from MMA

By Brian Knapp Mar 31, 2011
Former middleweight King of Pancrase Ricardo Almeida on Wednesday announced his retirement from the mixed martial arts. The 34-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt walked away from the sport in a note posted on his Facebook page.

Almeida (Pictured) made his final appearance at UFC 128 on March 19, as he lost a unanimous decision to Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts representative Mike Pyle at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

“After much deliberation since my fight at UFC 128 I have decided to step away from the sport as a fighter,” Almeida wrote. “I will continue to fully support the UFC as a coach and of course as a big fan. I would like to thank [UFC CEO] Lorenzo Fertitta and [UFC President] Dana White for their leadership and vision which brought the sport to new heights. I would also like to thank [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva for giving me the opportunity to compete among the best martial artists in the world.”

A Renzo Gracie protégé, Almeida posted a 5-3 mark after returning to the UFC in February 2008. Scattered among his 13 career wins are victories over the world-ranked Nate Marquardt, 2006 Pride Fighting Championships welterweight grand prix winner Kazuo Misaki, former International Fight League middleweight champion Matt Horwich and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 winner Kendall Grove.

“Back in 2008 I decided to return to MMA. Since then I have had the privilege of fighting eight times in the UFC,” Almeida wrote. “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,” he added. “It is a dangerous task to step in the octagon, [especially] if your focus is not at 100 [percent].”
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