Middleweight Cung Le (pictured) has decided to retire from mixed martial arts. However, a return to kickboxing and acting are still in play.
“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 expressed in a prepared 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.”
Although Le acknowledged the UFC in his goodbye letter, he doesn’t leave the promotion on good terms. The bad blood started brewing between Le and his employer after the UFC suspended him 12 months after his pre-fight drug test for September’s loss to Michael Bisping showed traces of Human Growth Hormone (hGH).
Le’s bout against Bisping took place in China where there’s no governing body for MMA, so the UFC sanctioned the event. They hired a third-party company to collect blood and urine samples to conduct the drug screenings.
The UFC was initially only going to request urine samples, but after Bisping requested extensive exams on fight week after seeing Le’s rebuilt frame, the UFC decided to foot the bill for blood tests. “The Count” didn’t flat out accuse of the 42-year-old of juicing, but he wasn’t shy about wanting to ensure the playing field was level based on Le’s now-chiseled frame.
Because the blood testing was requested at the last minute, the UFC was unable to submit them to one of the 32 labs certified by WADA, the premier organization for hGH testing in sports.
The UFC later rescinded their suspension, but never apologized to Le for their blunder.
Le subsequently requested his UFC release.
Le, Jon Fitch and Nate Quarry jointly filed a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit against the UFC claiming the world’s premier MMA promotion is illegally maintaining a monopoly by systematically eliminating competition via buyouts, artificially suppressing fighters’ earnings from bouts and merchandising and marketing activities through restrictive contracting and other exclusionary practices.
If no settlement is reached, this case will likely drag out in court for years.
Le went 7-1 in Strikeforce before joining the UFC in November 2011. He won half of his four bouts inside the octagon.