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Eric Kelly released by ONE Championship



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After trying many times but failing to rack up a win, ONE Championship has given Philippine mixed martial arts veteran Eric Kelly the pink slip.

The development was first reported by Nissi Icasiano of Asian MMA.

“I received my notice of release on June 19th. Admittedly, I was so sad when I got that email, but in some way, I deserve it because I failed to do my part as an athlete,” said the 37-year-old Baguio-native.

“I am accepting ONE Championship’s decision to let me go.”

Before joining ONE back in 2011, Kelly was one of the top prospects in the region, going 5-0.

He vindicated his status by winning seven of his next eight fights both in ONE Championship and URCC. During that streak, he plowed through the likes of Jens Pulver, Rob Lisita, and Mitch Chilson.

However, Kelly slid into a slump that he could not break out of.

“I got addicted to the wrong habit (gambling).

“It was overwhelming, in my case. I didn’t know how to handle or manage the money I was getting. It did make me big headed,” he told Icasiano.

Starting in January of 2016, Kelly suffered loss after loss after loss.

The likes of Ev Ting, Narantungalag Jadambaa, Kotetsu Boku, and Rafael Nunes all finished him. Though he made it until the 15th minute in his last bout versus Niu Kang Kang last June 15, he ended up on the wrong side of a decision for his seventh straight loss.

Even if he is no longer part of the biggest martial arts promotion in the world, Kelly wants to have one last shot at glory in another league.

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“I want to win again. That’s all I want. I can sign with any promotion to have a farewell fight – I can’t end my MMA stint with a series of losses,” he confessed.

“I can’t go in that way.”