One of the biggest names in Scottish MMA has announced his retirement from the sport.
Stevie Ray, who competed 38 times as a professional, brought the curtain down on his career after his loss to Clay Collard eliminated him from the PFL’s 2023 lightweight season at PFL 6.
Ray posted a message explaining his disappointment in his performance following his loss to Clay Collard at PFL 6 as he addressed his display that night before announcing his retirement.
“First time in my career I’ve lost three in a row, so I think it’s time to move on from fighting,” he wrote.
“Maybe one more fight in the UK would be nice, but yeah, I’m not in this sport just for a paycheck. I’m happy with everything I’ve achieved over the years, beat some big names and fought all over the world on the biggest promotions in the world. Made a few quid as well. Not bad for a lad from Kirkcaldy, Fife, haha!
“I’m gonna go home, spend some time with my family. Then I’ll be back focusing on my Gym in Kirkcaldy after some time off @braveheartmma back to MMA timetable with striking etc very soon! as right now it’s only been BJJ due to me being on constant fight camp for the past 18 months!
“Thanks to everyone that’s supported me as always it’s overwhelming I appreciate the love from all my sponsors, friends, family and fans.
“Huge thanks to my coach who without him I wouldn’t have achieved half of what I have done at Higher Level MMA, and also all my teammates there, too.
“Thanks to my manager Ali Abdelaziz for everything you’ve done for me. Best manager in the game.
“Thanks to everyone at the PFL. All the staff are amazing and treated me so well. Absolutely amazing company.
“Massive thanks To my wife Natalie for allowing me to chase my dreams while she watched four of our kids full time.
“On to the next chapter in my life, I have a few ideas that I’m going to do.”
Ray competed on the regional scene in Scotland, most notably with the On Top Promotions organization, before winning the inaugural BAMMA British lightweight title in December 2012 before losing the belt to Englishman Curt Warburton in March 2013.
After that loss to Warburton, Ray signed for Cage Warriors and won two fights in one night to win the promotion’s lightweight championship tournament and capture the 155-pound title.
After losing the belt to Ivan Buchinger, Ray bounced back in and faced his BAMMA nemesis Warburton for the vacant title in June 2014. This time he exacted revenge with a split-decision victory to become a two-time Cage Warriors champion. Then, in an immediate rematch five months later, he submitted Warburton in the second round to retain the title and earn a call-up by the UFC.
His Octagon debut took place in April 2015 in Krakow, Poland, where he finished Polish submission specialist Marcin Bandel in the second round to get his career on the big stage off to a winning start.
Ray would go on to compete 11 times in the UFC, finishing up with a 7-4 record in the Octagon, including victories over Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon and Michael Johnson. After his win over Johnson, a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and injuries put his career on hold before he eventually announced his retirement in 2020.
But, a little over a year later, the Scot had a change of heart and signed on to join the PFL’s 2022 lightweight division. Ray lost his PFL debut to Alexander Martinez, but bounced back to shock former UFC champion Anthony Pettis with a twister submission to earn a spot in the 2022 semi-finals, where he would face Pettis again.
Many expected the former UFC champ to turn the tables on the Scot, but Ray had Pettis’ number, earning back-to-back victories over “Showtime,” thanks to a unanimous decision victory.
It meant Ray stood just one win away from the PFL’s 2022 lightweight championship and one million dollars. Unfortunately for Ray, he was knocked out by Canada’s Olivier Aubin-Mercier in the final as he fell agonizingly short of a million-dollar payday at Madison Square Garden.
Ray returned for the 2023 season, but wasn’t able to reproduce the form of the previous year as he lost to former two-time champ Natan Schulte by decision, then to Clay Collard by TKO to end his chances of another run at the title.
Ray retires with a career record of 25 wins (6 KOs, 9 subs), 13 losses.