Former UFC Fighter Stevie Ray Reveals How UFC’s Shady Tactics Forced Him to Retire From MMA

Published 08/13/2021, 3:55 PM EDT
LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 17: (L-R) Stevie Ray of Scotland reacts after finishing three rounds against Kajan Johnson of Canada in their lightweight bout inside The O2 Arena on March 17, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Former UFC lightweight fighter Stevie Ray detailed the exact reasons for his departure from MMA in an interview given to BJPenn.com. The Scottish fighter, who retired in 2020 because of his knee problems, at least that’s what many thought, revealed how UFC officials planned to release him from the organization.

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For the record, Ray started his journey with the promotion back in 2015. He has fought the likes of Paul Felder, Leonardo Santos, and Joe Lauzon, just to name a few. But the biggest fight and win of his career came against Michael Johnson in October 2019. He ended his UFC career with 7 wins and 4 losses.

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Coming back to the release story, the Scottish fighter narrated the complete story of his release. The same story that was until now hidden from the public eyes. “It was when the UFC decided to release me. It was a weird situation. I won my fight in Singapore against Michael Johnson and I signed a new four-fight deal with the UFC,” Ray revealed.

“After that fight, I got matched up with Marc Diakiese in March. Unfortunately, I had to pull out for the first time in my career due to a knee injury. I had the same injury against Johnson, but it was much worse this time.”

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He further added, “My manager at the time, Ali Abdelaziz, phoned me and said, ‘Stevie, how would you feel about signing with another promotion if I can get you more money?I told him it depends on how much more money, like obviously I want to stay with the UFC but if it’s a lot more money, that changes things.”

Stevie Ray on Abdelaziz’s revealing the truth to him

Ray then further revealed that Abdelaziz (who also manages Kamaru Usman) told him UFC wants to get rid of him. The manager gave the reason that the promotion knows he has knee problems.

In order to get him out, UFC gave him a tough fight against Johnson but he overcame the obstacle and won the fight. “Of course, I managed to win and after I won, they didn’t want to re-sign me right away as I was starting to be expensive. I made 40k and 40k against Johnson plus the 10k for Reebok so almost 100k a fight. After some time, I got the new contact,” he added.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JULY 16: Stevie Ray of Scotland reacts to his loss to Paul Felder in their lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at the SSE Hydro Arena Glasgow on July 16, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

UFC tried to get him out on medical grounds but could not do it as he got a clearance. But ultimately they released him on Visa issues as he couldn’t take the fight against Mike Davis, according to him.

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This made him pretty sad, and he cried several times. But at one point, he became content with walking away with the biggest win of his career.

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Even though he has left UFC, he still wants to apply his trade for the promotion and wants to fight. But he also knows the promotion won’t accept him back.

What did you make of Ray’s statements?

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Akshyay Srichandan Mahapatra

552 articles

Akshyay Mahapatra is a UFC author for EssentiallySports. He wished to combine his passion for the UFC (that he has been following since 2008) as well as his love for writing. This motivated him to enter the world of combat sports journalism.

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