UFC Middleweight Contender Brian Stann Retires from MMA

Damon Martin@@DamonMartinContributor IJuly 11, 2013

Sep 22, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; UFC fighter Brian Stann fights against fighter Michael Bisping (left) in the middleweight bout at UFC 152 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Former WEC champion and UFC middleweight contender Brian Stann announced his retirement from MMA on Thursday following a 12-6 career spanning the last seven years.

The former Marine recently signed on to do commentary for Fox Sports as part of its coverage of ACC college football. The writing was on the wall at that point for Stann to call it a career and retire from fighting.

The announcement was made via UFC Tonight on Twitter and during a special interview segment with Stann on MMAFighting.com.

Stann burst onto the scene in 2006 as part of the WEC, where he began fighting in only his second professional bout.

A highly decorated Marine captain who served multiple tours overseas, Stann decided to try his hand at mixed martial arts and found out he was pretty good at it.

He made a quick rise up the ranks, and, in his sixth professional fight, he won the WEC light heavyweight title by knocking out former champion Doug Marshall.

While Stann would eventually lose the belt, he did make the transition with many of the other fighters from the WEC to the UFC when the promotions merged.

Once he was in the Octagon, Stann eventually dropped down to middleweight, where he found success by winning his first three fights in a row, including a devastating knockout of The Ultimate Fighter veteran Chris Leben.

Stann never quite got to title contention after losing by submission to Chael Sonnen at UFC 136 in 2011 and ended his career on a 1-3 streak overall. Still, Stann's performances were always exciting, exhilarating and fun to watch because win or lose, he always came to put on a show.

During the latter part of his UFC career, Stann became a permanent fixture as an analyst during UFC broadcasts on Fuel TV. It was there that he found yet another talent that was quickly used by the network time and again.

Now, with his new analyst gig at Fox Sports working ACC football games and a continued presence on UFC-branded broadcasts, Stann has decided to walk away from fighting for good.

While Stann never quite reached the peak in terms of UFC championships, his involvement with mixed martial arts went far beyond his impact in the cage. He was always outspoken about veteran rights and continues to advocate for those who served their country in the military.

With fighting behind him now, Stann will move onto the next stage of his life. He will thrive as a broadcaster as well as be able to spend more time with his family.

Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.