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Brett Cooper retires from mixed martial arts: 'I think it's time for me'

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Photo via Bellator MMA

Mixed martial arts veteran Brett Cooper announced his retirement from the sport Thursday. Cooper, 28, cited the need to be a father and the unwillingness to put his career ahead of his family as a key reason for his exit from the sport.

On a post on Facebook, Cooper wrote:

"It's looks as though I will be retiring from Hi-level competition in MMA. In order to compete at the highest level I would have to do certain things that I'm not comfortable with. It is time for me to be a dad and not be selfish anymore. I learned a lot from this sport and met a lot of great people. I don't think there is ever a perfect time to call it quits but I think it's time for me. I still have all my wits about me, I'm still articulate, and still able to do stuff I want to do with my family. I'd like thank certain people that have helped me in my career from start to finish such as Tracy Hess, Antonio Mckee, Mark Munoz, Rafael Cordiero, Danny Perez, Coach Paul La Blanc, my main man Vince Ortiz, and more. A lot of people never get a chance to pursue their passion or dream in their life but I am very grateful to be able to do so. Even if I did not get where I wanted to go, I have no regrets and cherish the experience. Thanks again for all your support. Feel free to comment. Thanks again."

Cooper retires with a record of 20-12. He competed for a number of organizations during his run including but not limited to Shooto, Jungle Fight, Affliction Bellator and most recently, KSW. Cooper was knocked out in the first round by Maiquel Falcao at KSW 32 on October 31.

The welterweight and middleweight fighter faced more than a few notable opponents, squaring off with Kendall Grove, Mamed Khalidov, Doug Marshall, Alexander Shlemenko, Brandon Halsey, Dan Cramer, Joe Doerksen, Steve Carl, Sergio Moraes, Waachim Spiritwolf, Conor Huen, Jason Von Flue and Rory Markham.

Cooper only once fought for a title in a major organization, facing then-Bellator middleweight champion Shlemenko in September of 2013. He lost that bout via unanimous decision.