UFC welterweight Melancon forced to retire due to kidney issues

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.