Cung Le retires from mixed martial arts fighting

Former Strikeforce champion and UFC middleweight Cung Le has retired from competition, at 42.

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC middleweight Cung Le has announced his retirement from fighting, after two decades of kickboxing, san shou, and MMA competition. MMA Junkie broke the news that the Vietnames-born fighter was quitting MMA, with Le’s statement (below), and Dave Doyle followed up with a story confirming that the 42 year-old was retiring from fight competition of all kinds. 

Le last fought in August, and lost via fourth round TKO to Michael Bisping. His overall record stands at 9-3.

Le got into MMA late, back in 2006, as a Bay area kickboxing star. He would go on to become the Strikeforce middleweight champion, before coming to the UFC in 2011. 

The fighter would go 2-2, overall in the UFC, against top competition like Bisping, former title challenger Patrick Cote, and former champions Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin. After his loss to Bisping in China, the UFC did its own drug testing, and subsequently announced that Le had tested positive for elevated levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH).

Within weeks, the UFC would issue two different punishments (suspensions of nine months, then of twelve months) of the fighter, then rescind all punishment after it was revealed that their testing protocol did not pass muster, and so their results were not reliable. Le maintained his innocence throughout it all, and asked for his release from the UFC, which was not granted.

Last month, Le was named as a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit filed against the UFC. Now, he has retired.

Fighting will never be far from my heart and martial arts will always continue to be a part of my daily life

"After several months of thought and discussion with my wife and family we realize our future includes many things, but active competition in mixed martial arts is no longer one of them therefore I am officially announcing my retirement from active competition," Le said in a statement.

"Fighting will never be far from my heart and martial arts will always continue to be a part of my daily life. I have thoroughly enjoyed the career that I have been blessed with due in large part to all my fans and the many people who have helped me on my journey…I’d like to recognize the UFC for the opportunity they have provided me, the sport of mixed martial arts, and more importantly the fans who love it, you will never be far from my heart. It has truly been my honor and my privilege to entertain you."

We wish Le all the best in retirement, and thank him for his years of battling for our entertainment.