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Rare blood disorder forces Irish UFC flyweight Holohan to retire logo 26/04/2016 Paul Dollery

© Cathal Noonan IRISH FIGHTER PADDY Holohan has announced his retirement from mixed martial arts with immediate effect.

In a statement released via his official Facebook page, Holohan said he has been forced to bring an end to his fighting career due to a rare blood disorder.

“I was born with a factor missing in my blood called Factor XIII,” said the 27-year-old Dubliner. “I never disclosed it then or now, it came to the UFC’s attention from a third party and I can no longer pass the medical requirements to compete.”

Holohan, who retires with a professional record of 12-2-1, was scheduled to fight Willie Gates at UFC Fight Night 87 in Rotterdam a week on Sunday. The bout was due to be Holohan’s first outing since he was submitted by Louis Smolka in the second round of last October’s main event at UFC Fight Night 76 in Dublin.

Training under John Kavanagh at Straight Blast Gym, Holohan tasted victory in the UFC on three occasions, including a spectacular debut against Josh Sampo in Dublin in July 2014 when he was victorious via first-round submission.

Holohan added: “Only 1 in 5 million people are diagnosed so I knew that it was so rare, organisations wouldn’t understand or take the chance with me as I have found out now, I never explained in full to John or my team the actual risks cause I didn’t think there was excess risk. It is a disorder that is only dangerous for me not my opponents.

“I really did see MMA as the way to have a real shot at life for myself and my family and it turns out I was right. I have mixed emotions about it: Proud because I always wore my heart on my sleeve, stood my ground, never cheated, never turned away from diversity or challenges and always strived to inspire and encourage people from all backgrounds.

“Sad because I will never make that walk again, under those lights, feeling all those uncomfortable yet life giving feelings as they count and you hear ‘walk walk walk’ staring into a camera, knowing millions are watching but most importantly the Irish are watching.

“I am also disappointed because people who have cheated within the sport due to PEDs etc putting their opponents in extra danger will fight again, whereas for me it’s a genetic 1 in 5 million disorder that stops me dead in my tracks. I really feel I was only turning the corner in my fight career and I still have so much more to give!”

Holohan is expected to open a branch of Straight Blast Gym in Tallaght later this year. UFC officials are in the process of securing a new opponent for Willie Gates for the 8 May card in Rotterdam.

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