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,

href="https://twitter.com/Brian_Melancon/status/403242072150265856"

target="_blank">he announced on Wednesday.

Melancon had been scheduled to compete against Robert Whittaker

at the

target="_blank">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

target="_blank">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.