UFC

Sam 'Hands of Stone' Stout decides to retire from MMA

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 14: Sam Stout reacts to his victory over Cody McKenzie in their lightweight bout during the UFC on FOX event at Sleep Train Arena on December 14, 2013 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 14: Sam Stout reacts to his victory over Cody McKenzie in their lightweight bout during the UFC on FOX event at Sleep Train Arena on December 14, 2013 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Canadian fighter Sam "Hands of Stone" Stout has decided to hang up his gloves after a 12-year professional fight career, including 20 fights under the UFC banner.

The 31-year-old released a statement on Wednesday, detailing why he's stepping away from the sport:

"It has become clear to me that I am no longer able to compete at the highest level of mixed martial arts. Competing, as a UFC fighter for the last 10 years has been something I will always look back on with great pride. I want to thank everyone at Zuffa for giving me the opportunity to do what I love for so many years. That being said, I think my best days as a fighter are behind me and it would be a risk to my legacy and my health to continue competing. Therefore I would like to announce my retirement from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. This is a very difficult decision for me to make, but I am excited about the road ahead, and look forward to the beginning of a new chapter."

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Stout retires with a 20-12 record and holds key victories over Yves Edwards, Spencer Fisher and Joe Lauzon. Stout, however, suffered consecutive knockouts in his last three fights, including a first-round loss to Frankie Perez in August.