Dublin UFC fighter forced to retire due to rare condition

Paddy Holohan
Paddy Holohan

Dublin-born UFC flyweight Paddy Holohan has been forced to retire from professional mixed martial arts due to a rare blood clotting disorder.

The 27-year-old fought five times under the UFC’s banner, and was victorious all but twice. His most recent bout was at the 3Arena last October, when he a suffered a first round submission loss to Louis Smolka in the headlining fight at UFC FN 76.

The Tallaght native was scheduled to face American Willie Gates in Rotterdam on May 8 at UFC Fight Night 87.

Holohan is a member of Team SBG Ireland and a protégé of coach John Kavanagh. He made his UFC debut at the then 02 Arena in July 2014, and earned a first round submission victory over Josh Sampo.

The UFC and Holohan have released statements announcing his immediate retirement. The promotion have stated that  they were unaware of Holohan’s condition until after his loss to Smolka and, that he has retired on medical advice.

In a Facebook post, Holohan thanked the Irish fans, his teammates and coaches, while expressing great sadness that he will never compete professionally again.

“I was born with a factor missing in my blood called Factor XIII. I never disclosed it then or now. I can no longer pass the medical requirements to compete.”

“I knew that it was so rare that organizations wouldn't understand or take the chance with me, as I have found out now,” Holohan continued. “I never explained in full to my coach John Kavanagh or my team the actual risks because I didn't think there was excess risk.”

“I’m happy because I always wore my heart on my sleeve, never cheated, never turned away from diversity or challenges, and always strived to inspire and encourage people from all backgrounds,” Holohan said.

“And I’m 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.

“Thanks to all of my team over the past nine 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 hometown of Tallaght who have always caught my falls and helped me back to my feet, I am forever grateful to the people who have backed me through thick and thin. This has made me the man I am today.”

Holohan is the second from the first wave of Irish UFC fighters to call time on his career; following a devastating loss to Tom Breese at last October's event in Dublin, friend and teammate, Cathal Pendred, hung up his gloves.

Holohan runs his own SBG affiliate gym in Tallaght, where he is grooming the next generation of Irish MMA stars.