UFC welterweight Melancon forced to retire due to kidney issues

A UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Bigfoot prelim fell off the card on Wednesday, but not for any run-of-the-mill injury. That would have been bad enough, but it’s even worse for Brian Melancon, who had to hang up his gloves after being advised by doctors not to fight on.

At 31 years old, Brian Melancon’s professional mixed martial arts career is over. The UFC welterweight has decided to retire after recurring kidney issues jeopardized his health, he announced on Wednesday.

Melancon had been scheduled to compete against Robert Whittaker at the UFC Fight Night show in Brisbane, Australia on Dec. 7. As a result, Whittaker is off the card, the UFC confirmed.

Melancon (7-3) came to the UFC through Strikeforce, and impressed in his Octagon debut, knocking out Seth Baczynski at UFC 162 with a first round ground and pound finish. He returned less than two months later, facing former Ultimate Fighter winner Kelvin Gastelum, but suffered a rear naked choke submission loss.

His fight with Whittaker was to be his third Octagon encounter, but it was not to be.

Melancon had previously publicly discussed his troubles with kidney issues while cutting weight, and how he once went into kidney failure while trying to cut down to 155 pounds. Since then, all of his fights have been at 170 pounds, but Melancon said doctors recently told him that his kidney function was at 47 percent, and advised him to not to risk any further permanent damage and retire from competitive fighting. The Houston-based Melancon had previously worked as a physical therapist before quitting to fight full-time.

Meanwhile, Whittaker loses out an opportunity to fight in front of his adopted homeland. Born in New Zealand, he trains in Sydney, and represented Australia during TUF: The Smashes, which he won in 2012.

Whittaker is 11-3 overall and 2-1 in the UFC, losing only to another former TUF winner, Court McGee, in a recent split-decision. He will be placed on a future card, the UFC said.

Download the new FOX Sports App to get the latest UFC news.