Former UFC Champ Tim Sylvia Hangs Up the Gloves After Medical Issue Nixes Fight

January 5, 2015
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Former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia was supposed to have been in the cage fighting at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday night.

He was in the cage in Connecticut, but he didn’t fight. Instead, Sylvia announced his retirement from mixed martial arts.

Sylvia had been slated to fight Juliano Coutinho at a Reality Fighting event on Saturday, but after reportedly tipping the scales at 371 pounds for the fight, the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation determined that the results of Sylvia’s medical evaluation were such that he needed further evaluation. He was not cleared to fight.

Instead of foregoing further medical tests, which Sylvia’s manager Monte Cox said had already consisted of “a stress test, MRI, EKG, eye, blood and physical,” Sylvia decided it was time to hang up his gloves.

Sylvia told the crowd that it was the end of his career and that there was an issue with his MRI and that the commission had basically said his body had been through enough punishment over the course of his career.

Never really a star athlete, Sylvia found some success in martial arts as a young adult, while also working mostly manual labor-type jobs in Maine.

SylviaTelligman094UFC54-750After winning a fight on an amateur event in Rhode Island, Sylvia sold everything and moved to Iowa, where he began his professional career in 2001 as part of UFC Hall of Famer Pat Miletich’s pioneering team alongside the likes of Matt Hughes, Jens Pulver, Jeremy Horn, Tony Fryklund, and numerous others.

He rode an unbeaten streak of thirteen fights into the Octagon, where he won the UFC heavyweight championship in only his second fight for the promotion, defeating Ricco Rodriguez in 2003. He would lose the belt two fights later to Andrei Arlovski, only to win it back by defeating Arlovski in 2006.

Sylvia left the UFC in 2008, after failing to win the interim championship in a fight with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. He went on to fight and lose to Fedor Emelianenko in the failed Affliction fight promotion in his next bout.

SEE ALSO: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Contemplating Retirement

Having competed mostly at super heavyweight since exiting the Octagon, Sylvia has long struggled with his weight, which has lead to a mediocre post-UFC career, winning seven fights, losing six, and having one bout ruled a no-contest.

Although he’s calling an end to his career on a down note, Sylvia rose to the pinnacle of the sport during his UFC tenure as a representative of the blue-collar man, fighting many of the top heavyweights of his era.

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  • EshamTheUnholy

    It happens. Good luck Tim Sylvia.

  • Darin

    Sylvia never got a ton of respect, but he stands out to me as one of the more memorable UFC heavy weights. Probably because he was the man when I first really got into mma. His arm getting snapped by Mir, and getting knocked down by Arlovski in their second fight only to bounce back to his feet and KO Arlovski…… Regardless, he made an impact on the sport and I wish him well in retirement.

  • Chris Morgan

    Sylvia never lost the belt to Arlovski. He lost the belt to Mir @ UFC 48 (two fights after winning it). The first Arlovski fight (in 2005) was for the interim belt (b/c of Mir’s lengthy recovery).

    • taylor2008

      Thats when Mir broke his arm.

  • Gary Fredericks

    I will always remember Sylvia as the guy everyone said couldn’t do it, but did. Sure he had some bad fights towards the end of his UFC run, and more afterwards but the fact remains he fought in the UFC and held the belt….something NONE OF US here have done. He is also a very nice guy in person.

    Godspeed to you Mr Sylvia, and thanks for the memories.

  • Joe Dog

    Training camp at Burger King.

  • taylor2008

    Better trained fighters today. Now TIm trains at pizza hut and ocassionally goes over to the McDonalds camp.

    But I did like the guy when he fought. He just wasnt fast enough for these new fighters.

    But holy crap….371 lbs? I know he is a big guy but his heart wont hold out!

  • SeriusMom

    I am just waiting for CerealKiller to come here and bash Tim Sylvia.

    CerealKiller is a tool that has no respect for MMA fighters.

    • shakejunt

      he didn’t make it any easier on himself while campaigning for a ufc return during a losing streak.