Melvin Manhoef’s 28-year run is over.
The 46-year-old MMA original announced his retirement Friday night following a third-round knockout loss to Yoel Romero in the co-main event of Bellator 285, which took place at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland. The news brings an end to a near three-decade career in both MMA and kickboxing that saw Manhoef establish himself as one of the most dangerous knockout artists of his time.
During a career that began in 1995, Manhoef competed for nearly every major non-UFC promotion under the sun, making stops in Rings, Strikeforce, Bellator, ONE Championship, K-1, DREAM, KSW, and more. He authored a slew of highlight-reel knockouts, including an 18-second gem against Mark Hunt and a 90-second demolition of Kazushi Sakuraba, both of which occurred in 2008. He also took on some of the best competition around, facing off against the likes of Robbie Lawler, Gegard Mousasi, Paulo Filho, and more.
See how the MMA world reacted to Manhoef’s retirement below.
What a man, what a career
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) September 23, 2022
— Bellator Europe (@Bellator_Europe) September 23, 2022
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) September 23, 2022
Big respect to both Yoel and Melvin
— bjpenndotcom (@bjpenndotcom) September 23, 2022
Legend @team_manhoef congrats on an amazing career
Talked to him a few times in the back of the 3 arena always had me in stitches laughing. A real one https://t.co/GcizI8jkIw
— Paul Redmond (@RedserMma) September 23, 2022
Melvin Manhoef went pro in 95 & I was only a year old salute to a 27 year combat sport career and one of the best knockout fighters ever
— Terrance ‘T Wrecks’ McKinney (@twrecks155) September 23, 2022
— Alexander K Lee (@AlexanderKLee) September 23, 2022