Longtime UFC middleweight fighter Jason (The Athlete) MacDonald has retired from mixed martial arts.
The Red Deer, Alta., fighter told Sportsnet.ca that he informed the UFC of his decision on Thursday.
The 37-year-old, who was born in New Glasgow, N.S., has a career MMA record of 25-16, but lost his last two fights. He first joined the UFC in October 2006.
MacDonald, a highly-skilled Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, was a fan favourite in Canada, particularly in the western provinces.
He fought in local promotions all over Canada prior to being signed by the UFC, where he won his first two bouts, knocking off The Ultimate Fighter competitors Ed Herman and Chris Leben, both by submission as he showed off his dangerous grappling ability.
He then lost to former middleweight champion Rich Franklin, but rebounded with a win over another Ultimate Fighter alumnus, Rory Singer, earning him the unofficial nickname the “TUF Killer.”
He later became a staple at the UFC’s Canadian stops, appearing on the first three Montreal cards as well as the historic first stadium show at Toronto’s Rogers Centre in April 2011.
Unfortunately, he fell on hard times in the latter portion of his UFC career, getting released in 2009 after a two-fight losing streak. In his return to the Octagon a year later he suffered a devastating leg injury in a loss to John Salter.
He did manage to get a win in his next appearance at April 2011′s historic UFC 129, but he was stopped in his last two outings, including a 50-second knockout at the hands of Tom Lawlor in Fairfax, Va., last May. Many had hoped to see him have one last retirement fight at the UFC’s first show in Calgary last July, but he was not offered the opportunity after his last two losses. He leaves with a career UFC record of 6-8.
MacDonald was one of the first featured fighters in the Edmonton-based Maximum Fighting Championship, one of Canada’s biggest and longest-running promotions.
He has been a weekly blogger for Sportsnet.ca since 2008. The married father of four kids also runs his own CrossFit-affiliated gym, Pure Fitness, and established his own local fight promotion in Red Deer called Pure Fighting Championship. He plans to now focus on his new career as CrossFit trainer.