MMA star Stevie Ray ready to return from injury hell
Kirkcaldy mixed martial arts fighter Stevie Ray says he’s ready to come out of retirement and get back in the cage.
It’s a surprising move from the 31-year-old as he announced the end of his career last September, having been plagued by a persistent knee injury.
But he says he’s worked hard duri ng lockdown on the problem and is feeling fighting fit once again.
He said: “During this whole period whilst the gyms have all been shut down, I was lucky because I have my own one where I coach [Braveheart MMA in Kirkcaldy] so I was able to go along and train myself.
“I just tried to add a bit of muscle to my legs and I think that was maybe part of the problem before.
“I used to have quite muscly legs, but then I got the injury and I don't think I've rehabbed my legs properly and had some muscle wastage. They just got worse and worse.
“I've also been doing a lot of yoga. Since I've started doing that and getting my body into alignment, my knee seems to be a lot better.
“It's been a mix of a few things. I think I was maybe a bit too emotional before and now I've realised that I miss it and I'm still young enough to be able to fight, so I'm going to give it a go and see how it goes.”
As well as gym work, Ray has also been studying to become a yoga instructor, having fallen in love with the discipline after first trying it seven years ago, and he credits it with helping in his recovery.
"The first session I ever did was 90 minutes of hot yoga and it was harder than my MMA training,” he said.
“I'm on the way to finish a 200-hour online course, and, of course, it gives me knowledge of how to maintain my own body too.”
Now Ray’s next move is to find a promoter.
“I’m not under contract with anyone. I'm open to fighting anywhere really as long as it's worth my while.
“I’ve built up a good reputation and I’ve got a good record, so I'm not going to fight for peanuts because a lot goes into a fight.
“My last fight [in the UFC against Michael Johnson] was the biggest of my career, but that was almost two years ago, so I just want to get back out there, maybe fight in the summer if it’s possible.
“I’ve got my life settled now and I’m in a good place both physically and mentally.”