UFC and PRIDE vet Gilbert Yvel announces MMA retirement


gilbert-yvel-7.jpgFormer UFC and PRIDE fighter Gilbert Yvel has announced his MMA retirement after a 16-year career.

Yvel, who made the announcement via groundandpound.de, said the timing was right after a series of fight postponements and cancellations, as well as a kidney issue.

“I’m pretty much done,” the 37-year-old said. “I’ve been fighting for the last 16 years. … I’m done. I’m tired. I don’t want to punch nobody anymore. I want to teach people, train and have fun. I’ve been fighting for 16 years. That’s a long time.”

The Dutchman, who made his MMA debut in 1997, posted a 38-16-1 record that included 32 knockout wins and stints with major organizations such as PRIDE, Affliction and the UFC. Most recently, the longtime heavyweight fought twice for Resurrection Fighting Alliance, where he ended a three-fight skid with knockout wins over Damian Dantibo and Houston Alexander in late 2011 and early 2012. The wins came after his drop to light heavyweight, where he said it was a struggle to maintain the weight as scheduled fights kept falling through.

Early in his career, Yvel was known as much for his unsportsmanlike conduct as his knockout power. After eye-gouging and biting previous opponents, his most infamous infraction came in 2004 at a Fight Festival event in Finland, where he punched and knocked out a referee, which led to his third career loss via disqualification.

However, Yvel, who said he briefly embraced his “bad guy” persona, ultimately cleaned up his act, and after an 8-1 run, he signed with the UFC in late 2009.

“It was back in the day,” Yvel joked about his past indiscretions. “We were young and stupid, and when you’re young, you do stupid things. I always had the misfortune that there was always a camera nearby or … it was when I was fighting.”

Yvel went winless in his three UFC appearances (with losses to Junior dos Santos, Ben Rothwell and Jon Madsen) and then signed with RFA.

He retires with past wins over the likes of Pedro Rizzo, Cheick Kongo, Gary Goodridge, Valentijn Overeem, Fabiano Scherner and Semmy Schilt.

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