This morning marks a sad one for BJJ fans as Gracie blackbelt Ricardo Almeida has announced he is walking away from Mixed Martial Arts to spend time with his family and teach at his school in New Jersey. According to Almeida by way of Facebook, his decision was prompted by an inability to balance his personal life and the rigors of fighting at the level required by the UFC.
“Back in 2008 I decided to return to MMA,” the 34-year old began. “Since then I have had the privilege of fighting eight times in the UFC. 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,” he continued. “MMA is a great sport but also physically and mentally unforgiving. It is a dangerous task to step in the Octagon, especially if your focus is not at 100%.”
Almeida also made sure to thank his bosses at the UFC including matchmaker Joe Silva as well as teammates, family, students, and of course fans who he credited with making “MMA the greatest sport there is.”
The heavy-hearted statement marks the second time Almeida has hung up his gloves with the first occurring in 2004 and resulting in a four-year hiatus from the sport. Assuming he is indeed done for good the submission specialist retires with six wins in the UFC and an overall record of 13-5 including five victories by way of tap-out. He holds past wins over Kendall Grove, Matt Horwich, Kazuo Misaki, Ryo Chonan, and Nate Marquardt.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC