27-year old bantamweight contender Michael McDonald is calling it a career.
On Thursday, McDonald officially announced his plans to exit the sport of mixed martial arts after a career that stretches back nearly 11 years when he began competing as a teenager.
The former UFC title contender who most recently fought for Bellator MMA has endured a number of hand surgeries over the years and it seems his latest setback was one step too far. McDonald initially announced the news via ESPN before confirming his retirement on Facebook.
“Today I am officially retiring from MMA fighting and I plan on never competing in martial arts competitions again,” McDonald wrote. “I had a wonderful career and a wonderful staff, and even greater- a wonderful wife and a wonderful God to thank for all the great moments.
“I am now going to be doing my woodworking full time from here on for many, many years to come. I have been a professional cabinet and furniture maker for 7 years now along side my fighting. I have my own custom cabinetry and furniture shop and I am just as passionate about woodworking as I am about martial arts. I put the same hard work and striving for perfection into my woodworking craft as you have all seen in my fighting career.”
While still very young, McDonald has dealt with a barrage of hand injuries over the years that have prevented him from competing on a regular schedule.
McDonald missed several long stretches — including a two year absence while competing in the UFC — due to those injuries.
Now he’s opting to retire from the sport after earning a knockout in his most recent fight against former Bellator champion Eduardo Dantas back in July.
McDonald retires with a 19-4 record including a title fight in the UFC back in 2013 as well as five post fight bonuses during his career spent fighting inside the Octagon.