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Claudia Gadelha reveals ‘severe concussion’ prompted early UFC retirement

UFC Fight Night: Santos v Teixeira Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s strawweight title contender Claudia Gadelha announced her surprise retirement from mixed martial arts (MMA) at the age of 33. Now, “Claudinha” is opening up to reveal the reason why she decided to walk away from the fight game.

During a recent interview with Mundo da Luta (via Bloody Elbow), Gadelha revealed that it was a “severe concussion” and ongoing headaches due to repeated head trauma that ultimately forced her to make the decision to preserve her health and stop fighting.

“I was feeling strong headaches. After some tests, we found out I had suffered a severe concussion. The doctors made me take care of it for a long time and when they allowed me to train again, I started to feel this really strong pain,” she said before explaining just how excruciating the headaches really were.

“Like a knife stabbing my skull, not to mention dizziness and nausea. That’s when I decided to retire for good. I didn’t feel like training or fighting anymore.”

According to Gadelha, she will be working with the promotion as an executive moving forward.

“It was a very well-thought out decision.” Gadelha continued. “Soon after the UFC called to take a position in the company. It was sensational, I’m very excited. Dana asked what I thought about the UFC having a Performance Institute in Brazil. I went crazy, that would be great for Brazilian MMA.”

Gadelha leaves the sport with an 18-5 record, going 7-5 inside the Octagon. She was last seen coming up on the wrong end of a unanimous decision loss to Yan Xiaonan.

UFC released a lengthy and detailed concussion document earlier this year containing the enhanced concussion protocols for injured fighters (see it here). Furthermore, the promotion donated $1 million to the Cleveland Clinic to help fund brain health research.

To learn more about UFC’s efforts on concussions and head trauma click here.