Yesterday, John Alessio announced his retirement after 17 years of MMA competition.
Before moving to the sunshine of San Jose, California, Alessio was one of the first fighters to emerge from the fledgling Canadian MMA scene. A scene eventually spearheaded by one Georges St-Pierre.
The Duncan, British Columbia native finished his career with an up and down record of 35-17. But, as one of the sport’s early bloomers, Alessio fought some significant names in established promotions such as the UFC, WEC, Bellator, Pride, Dream, Tachi Palace Fights, and King of the Cage – winning welterweight titles in the latter two organizations.
Speaking to his friends and followers on Facebook, Alessio said: “I write this post with a lot of mixed emotions. For the past 17 years, I lived out one of my dreams of being a pro MMA fighter. In fact, when I started, it wasn’t even called MMA yet.”
“I have competed at the highest level and travelled the world. From the small town of Duncan, B.C, Canada to living in California and now Las Vegas, this sport has given me so much. I have met some amazing people and made some life-long friends.
“I have had the honor of fighting and training with some of the world’s best fighters. I got to enjoy the moments of putting championship belts around my waist, having my hands raised in victory, hearing the crowd cheer and scream and also the bitter feeling of defeat. But, like all good things, they come to an end. I believe that now is the time for me to put the gloves away and close this amazing chapter in my life. It is time for the next step of my life. Thank you! I love you all!”
A UFC win eluded Alessio’s career, having fought for the premier MMA promotion five times. In that interrupted run of bouts, the Canuck lost to some big names in Pat Miletich, Thiago Alves, Diego Sanchez, Mark Bocek and Shane Roller.
Those fights against Bocek and Roller came after a six year hiatus away from the UFC, which saw “The Natural” earn another sixteen wins to eventually get the call to make his long-awaited return to the Octagon.
Outside of the UFC, Alessio defeated established UFC veterans such as Sean Pierson, Pete Spratt, Gideon Ray, Luigi Fioravanti, Chris Clements, and the disgraced War Machine - while dropping losses to fighters such as UFC welterweight title contender Carlos Condit, Paul Daley and Siyar Bahadurzada.
Alessio’s final fight didn’t quite pan out how any professional fighter would envisage: a bout which was declared a No Contest after The Natural was struck with an illegal knee from former Bellator lightweight title contender David Rickels. But, at just 36-years-old, Alessio had a lot of miles on the clock while compiling a resume of 54 MMA fights during a compelling career.
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