(Mauricio Zingano [right], shown here with his wife Cat and their son Brayden. / Photo via zinganobjj.com)
Third-degree BJJ black belt, coach, and former MMA fighter Mauricio Zingano has died at the age of 37, after reportedly committing suicide yesterday in Denver. Zingano was the husband of top-ranked UFC bantamweight Cat Zingano, the father of a young son, and the owner of two Black House MMA gym-affiliates in Colorado. Zingano’s manager Jorge Guimaraes confirmed the tragic news last night with Globo:
“Yes, he hanged himself in Denver on Monday. It’s something unexplainable, [I] do not know what may have motivated him to do so. We were together and he was fine, had plans and a lifetime ahead. It’s a tragedy. I’m going to Denver today to assist Cat, who is devastated, does not know what to do.”
According to his bio, Zingano began studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 16 under the tutelage of the Gracie family, and represented their art in several “challenge matches,” in which martial artists from other disciplines would come to the Gracie Academy to challenge BJJ fighters. (“He was known as one of the ‘gate keepers’ at the Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy during an era where bouts were fought without protective gear, weight classes and on a moment’s notice.”)
Zingano went on to become a two-time BJJ national champion, and was undefeated in amateur and professional MMA competition. He opened his first BJJ school in 2004, and was voted “Colorado’s MMA Coach of the Year” in 2010.
Our deepest condolences go out to the Zingano family during this painful time.
Updates, after the jump: MMAWeekly adds a couple more details on Mauricio’s death, and Cat Zingano releases an official statement.
Jefferson County Chief Deputy Coroner Dan Pruett on Tuesday confirmed Zingano’s passing to MMAWeekly.com.
“Mr. Zingano was pronounced dead on Jan. 13 at his home,” said Pruett. “He was pronounced at 8:31 p.m.”
Citing struggles with the break-up of his marriage, several MMAWeekly.com sources alleged that Zingano committed suicide. Pruitt, however, said that “the cause and manner of death are pending” the outcome of the investigation of the Jefferson County coroner’s office.
Late yesterday evening, I learned that my husband and soul mate of seven years, Mauricio Zingano, has passed away.
My life has changed irrevocably. I am shocked and deeply saddened. Thankfully, my family and friends are coming together to provide the support I need. I am grateful for them, as I know there are many difficult days ahead.
I also very much appreciate the outpour of support from the jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts world. My husband was well known and respected in this close-knit community and I know he would appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers, as do I.
At this time, I respectfully ask everyone to give me privacy as I gather with relatives and friends. Again, I give thanks to all for the kind words and support.