34-year-old light heavyweight James Te Huna appears to be walking away from the sport, essentially announcing his retirement this week without explicitly saying the words.
In a Facebook post this week, coming two months after his most recent appearance, Te Huna gave an update on where his head is at.
“Hey guys ..yes I’m alive haha, it’s been a couple months since my last post and I apologise for my absence,” he wrote. “I have discovered something that is tough to swallow (but made a lot of sense) since the last fight but this recent decision is a positive step towards a healthy future, I hope you can all understand. I gave it everything I had guys, and those closest to me know how much of my life I gave to competition-I didn’t have the gift when I started..just put in the work to chase a childhood dream.
“This career has expanded to 20 years and I have/am very grateful for all the help and support that I have received along this amazing journey,” he continued. “I got to learn and gain respect, discipline from martial arts, my culture and my family. Living a healthy lifestyle (minus the hospitals lol). Experiencing the positives and negatives of a sport-I have been through it all and I’ll be using this knowledge in my next venture. I received a lot of help and I always done my best to give back whenever I could. I would like to encourage the youth to get involved and I will continue to promote.
“There have been a lot of proud moments-having the opportunity to represent my culture to the world, but most of all being told from the person who I looked up to, my nephew my namesake. Again, thank you guys for all the support and a big thank you to my family.”
Te Huna, New Zealand born and competing out of Australia, appeared ten times in the UFC, going an even 5-5 in those bouts. The end went opposite from the beginning, as he won five of six fights to start his run in the organization before dropping four straight. That included a KO loss to Steve Bosse in just 52 seconds in Brisbane in March, a fight which came nearly a year and a half after his previous appearance.
Penick’s Analysis: It sounds like there’s a health issue, though he didn’t go into any further specifics. Still, it’s unlikely the UFC was going to keep him on the roster, so even if it was a matter of him not wanting to compete elsewhere at this stage in his career it would have been an understandable move. If it is indeed something to do with his health forcing him to stop fighting, then we wish him nothing but the best in dealing with whatever issue that may be. Regardless, hopefully he can find a new endeavor with fighting no longer paying the bills.
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