UFC star Stevie Ray 'gutted' as hopes dashed after knock-out punch in fight for $1m prize
Fife UFC star Steve Ray had his hopes dashed at World Championships, after he was knocked out in $1m winner-takes-all title fight.
The lightweight fighter was brutally knocked out in the Professional Fighters League lightweight championship fight against Olivier Aubin-Mercier at New York's Hulu Theatre in Madison Square Garden last night.
The referee immediately stepped in and stopped the bout after his rival landed a vicious right hook to his jaw.
Ray, from Kirkcaldy, beat former UFC world champion Anthony Pettis twice to make the finals, including a rematch at the same venue three months before.
Aubin-Mercier knocked out Ray, 32, late in the second round to win the 2022 PFL lightweight season and scoop one of the $1 million prizes. The stoppage win came with just 20 seconds left in the frame and shortly after he got back to his feet after Ray had dominated the match for several minutes. The Canadian was reported to be considering retirement heading into the bout.
It was Ray’s chance to become the first champion in a major MMA promotion from Scotland.
Speaking to the Evening News after the fight he said he’s gutted but staying positive: "I’m disappointed but still in a good place. Sometimes no matter how much you train or how confident you feel, it’s just not your night. I had mentally prepared for the worst that could happen. I’m looking at the positives from all my fights in the last year, this fight and I still have a few days left in New York.
"I would like to have been able to try and fight my way back but when I went to get back up the ref stepped in. It was a fair stoppage. I’m gutted but I won't dwell on it or beat myself up about it. I’ll be back again next year. But for now, I’m off to book a holiday with my family.”
Ray, who has won 25 of his 35 professional fights, retired in 2020 after parting ways with the UFC.
It was then he was approached by the PFL, who offered him the chance to compete in their annual lightweight tournament.
He accepted and said he hasn’t looked back, winning two of his three fights this year to reach the final.