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Published: 15:22 | 25/4/16

Holohan forced to retire

Irish UFC fighter Paddy Holohan has announced his retirement from the sport due to a rare blood disorder.

Holohan, who made his UFC debut at Dublin's O2 Arena in July 2014, suffered a first round submission loss to Louis Smolka at UFC FN 76 and was scheduled to fight Willie Gates in Rotterdam on May 8.

The Dubliner kept his condition quiet but he has now been forced to call time on his career due to the disorder.

"I've known this announcement was coming for a week or more now and it has only felt worse the more I have thought about it," Holohan wrote in a lengthy statement posted on his Facebook page.

"I am forced to retire from MMA.

"I was born with a factor missing in my blood called Factor XIII. I never disclosed it then or now, it came to the UFC's attention from a third party and I can no longer pass the medical requirements to compete, only 1 in 5 million people are diagnosed so I knew that it was so rare, organisations wouldn't understand or take the chance with me as I have found out now, I never explained in full to John or my team the actual risks cause I didn't think there was excess risk.

"It is a disorder that is only dangerous for me not my opponents.

"I really did see MMA as the way to have a real shot at life for myself and my family and it turns out I was right.

"I have mixed emotions about it:

-Proud because I always wore my heart on my sleeve, stood my ground, never cheated, never turned away from diversity or challenges and always strived to inspire and encourage people from all backgrounds.

-Sad because I will never make that walk again, under those lights, feeling all those uncomfortable yet life giving feelings as they count and you hear "walk walk walk" staring into a camera, knowing millions are watching but most importantly the Irish are watching.

"I am also disappointed because people who have cheated within the sport due to PEDs etc putting their opponents in extra danger will fight again, whereas for me it's a genetic 1 in 5 million disorder that stops me dead in my tracks.

"I really feel I was only turning the corner in my fight career and I still have so much more to give!

"Thanks to all of my team over the past 9 years at SBG. My coach John who backed me regardless when I had nothing but effort to offer him in payment, it's been an incredible journey for this council kid!

"To all the Irish people and people of my home town of Tallaght who have always caught my falls and helped me back to my feet, I am forever grateful to those people who have backed me through thick and thin.

"This journey has made me the man I am today."

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