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Tag: death

The Spirit Runs Forever: Farewell to the Ultimate Warrior, Professional Wrestling Superhero

By Seth Falvo

The man born as Jim Hellwig — famous for wrestling as The Ultimate Warrior in the WWE during the late eighties and early nineties — died last night in Arizona. His death comes just three days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, and one day after his final appearance on “Monday Night Raw.”

Professional wrestling is an art over-saturated in hyperbole; it’s an art where every wrestler is “the biggest” and/or “the best,” every event is “the most important,” and the phrase “the most” is uttered so frequently it practically loses meaning. Yet it’s hard to overstate the popularity that The Ultimate Warrior achieved, and the influence that he has had on any wrestling fan who grew up during the late eighties and early nineties. I know it’s lazy to compare professional wrestlers to superheroes, but for millions of kids like myself, The Ultimate Warrior was as close to a real-life superhero as it got. The Ultimate Warrior’s look and in-ring style — from his heavily-muscled physique and facepaint to his energetic entrances and quick, devastating matches — were convincingly brutal, and his intense, chaotic interview style was extremely unique. His WWE feuds against “Ravishing” Rick Rude, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts were nothing short of legendary.


(Highlights of The Ultimate Warrior’s best promos. Yes, clips from the Hulk Hogan “Crash the Plane” promo are at the very end.)

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MMA Fighter Booto Guylain Dies From Head Trauma Suffered in EFC Africa Match Last Week


(Image via efcafrica.com)

A South African middleweight MMA fighter named Booto Guylain died earlier today, from head injuries he suffered during a TKO loss to Keron Davies last Thursday at EFC Africa 27. Guylain was 29 years old, and very new to the sport, as his only other pro fight was a previous TKO loss at EFC Africa 25 in November.

The fight that claimed Guylain’s life ended like so many others in MMA — with Guylain on his back sustaining a series of elbow strikes from Davies, who was in full mount. According to a news brief released by EFC Africa after the fight, Guylain was stabilized by the on-site medical team immediately afterwards and transported to the Johannesburg General Hospital, where he was treated for swelling and bleeding on the brain.

However, the South African MMA website PrettyTuff reported that Guylain’s medical treatment was delayed “because he does not have medical aid and [because of] the long process involved in admitting a patient into a busy government facility in South Africa.” At some point, Guylain lapsed into a coma, and died today despite the efforts of a neuro-surgical team.

“We are devastated,” said EFC Africa president Cairo Howarth. “This is a huge loss to the sport and to all who know him. Our thoughts are with his family in this trying time.” ONEPLAN, EFC Africa’s disability partner, will provide financial support to Guylain’s wife and son.

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MMA Coach Mauricio Zingano, 37, Found Dead After Apparent Suicide [UPDATED]


(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.

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Exclusive: Joseph Torrez’s Lawyer Shares Details About Deadly Home Invasion Involving MMA Fighter


(Photo of Torrez via HuffingtonPost)

By now, most individuals within the MMA community have heard about the story of Joe Torrez, a professional MMA fighter out of Las Cruces, New Mexico, who had a deadly altercation with four suspected gang members during an apparent home-invasion in the early hours of New Year’s Day. Mr. Torrez was unavailable to comment on the current situation, but his lawyer, CJ McElhinney, who has known Mr. Torrez for nearly 10 years, spoke with CagePotato about his client and the events that occurred last week.

The 27-year-old Torrez reportedly fought off the four attackers which resulted in the death of Sal Garces (25). Another assailant, Nathan Avalos (20), had injuries which required medical attention. The other two assailants, Raymond Garces (19) and Leonard Calivollo (22), were arrested not far from the scene of the attack. The attorney also noted that one of the intruders did have an ankle bracelet on during the attack although did not specify which one of the four was wearing it.

Torrez, who has been training for nearly 10 years out of Gracie Barra Las Cruces, woke up early Wednesday morning when four individuals attempted to break into his home where his fiance, fiance’s sister, and his 3-year-old son slept. Despite reports of Mr. Torrez having a relationship with the intruders, Mr. McElhinney denied that they’d previously known each other, and cited the age difference between Torrez and the attackers as an indication towards the lack of relationship the parties may have had. Gracie Barra was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

The attack may have occurred as a result of an incident involving the 17-year-old sister of Torrez’s fiance at a New Year’s Eve Party. Mr. Elhinney stated that Torrez was at his home by 10 p.m. that evening with his son and fiance. His fiance’s sister, who may have had a “passing friendship” with one of the intruders, was at the party where according to Mr. McElhinney, an incident may have occurred where the intruders attempted to intoxicate and possibly sexually assault the woman, who later spent that evening with Torrez and her sister in lieu of her own home as a safety precaution.

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UFC Heavyweight Shane Del Rosario Dies at the Age of 30


(Video via YouTube.com/fightmagazine)

Two weeks after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest possibly brought on by a rare heart condition called Long QT Syndrome, UFC heavyweight Shane Del Rosario died last night at the age of 30, at Hoag Memorial Presbyterian Hospital in Newport Beach, California. The UFC confirmed the news this evening. Del Rosario was taken off life support on November 29th, and though we heard promising reports about his health since then, his body wasn’t able to recover.

Del Rosario won the first 11 fights of his career — all by stoppage, 10 in the first round — but his career momentum was slowed by a life-threatening car accident in April 2011, a pair of UFC defeats in 2012, and injuries that kept him out of competition through all of 2013. Of course, the man was so much more than just his wins and losses in the cage. Watch the video above and you’ll see why Shane was so beloved by his friends, family, and teammates.

RIP, Shane. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.

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Weight Cut Blamed in Death of Brazilian MMA Fighter Leandro Souza [UPDATED]


(Photo via MMANYTT.SE)

A 26-year-old Brazilian fighter named Leandro “Feijao” Souza died yesterday while cutting weight for today’s Shooto Brazil 43 card in Rio de Janeiro, MMA Fighting reports. The 1-1 MMA rookie was attempting to finish his cut for a flyweight matchup with Gabriel Brasil, when he passed out and died shortly thereafter.

According to his teammate Andre Santos, “We don’t have much information yet, but we do know that is related to his weight cut. He’s my student but he also trains at Nova Uniao for about a year. I wasn’t with him during this process because I have a fight scheduled in Russia, so he spent the night at Nova Uniao’s gym. His sister called me saying that he had passed out so I went to the hospital, but he was already dead when I got there.”

Deaths in MMA have thankfully been a rare occurrence — but the torturous lengths that some athletes go to in preparation for their fights can be more dangerous than the fights themselves. Improper weight-cutting can permanently ruin a fighter’s health, causing everything from kidney damage to hypogonadism. Unfortunately, massive weight cuts have become a necessary evil for fighters who don’t want to be at a size disadvantage during their fights, and the wide distances between weight classes in MMA contribute to the problem. Maybe this tragic incident can serve as an eye-opener for young fighters who severely dehydrate themselves to compete, at the expense of their long-term health.

Our deepest condolences go out to Souza’s family and the Brazilian MMA community.

UPDATE: Shooto Brazil president Andre Pederneiras has announced that tonight’s event has been canceled as a “sign of mourning” for Souza.

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Good News: Joe Son Might Get the Death Penalty for Killing His Cellmate Two Years Ago


(Joseph Hyungmin Son: Prison karaoke champ, 2011-2013. / Photo via Tapology)

A month after being sentenced to life in prison for the kidnapping, rape, and torture of a woman on Christmas Eve 1990, pre-Zuffa UFC punchline Joe Son once again made fucked-up headlines in October 2011 when he allegedly killed his cellmate, a wild-looking pedophile named Michael Thomas Graham.

Things have been pretty quiet on the Joe Son front since then. But now, TMZ is passing along word that Son is finally being charged with the murder of Graham, two years after the fact:

The guy who played shoe-throwing bad guy Random Task in “Austin Powers” has been charged with murder in the death of his prison cellmate, TMZ has learned … and prosecutors could pursue the death penalty.

The guy in the cross hairs is Joe Son, who was serving a life sentence in California’s Wasco State Prison for torturing a woman  when he allegedly killed his 50-year-old cellmate in 2011.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ that Son — a former MMA fighter — killed Graham with a combination of kicks and punches. We’re told the brutality of the murder will be a factor when prosecutors decide if they should pursue the death penalty.

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Former Boxing Champ Tommy Morrison Dies at 44


(Morrison celebrating after winning the WBO heavyweight championship in 1993 | Photo via Getty)

Tommy Morrison (48-3-1) was a boxing sensation, a cautionary tale and a controversial figure. He won the WBO heavyweight title in a 1993 fight against George Foreman, starred in Rocky V and earned millions of dollars. In 1996, he signed a multi-fight deal that was supposed to earn him nearly $40 million more.

Then, hours before a fight, he discovered that he had tested positive for HIV. Morrison retired from boxing but would later make a brief comeback, winning two more boxing bouts after denying the existence of HIV or AIDS, not only in his own body but in general, and testing negative multiple times for the HIV virus.

Morrison became ill again after complications from a chest surgery two years ago. Late Sunday night, the 44-year-old former champion died in an Omaha, Nebraska hospital with his wife Trisha by his side. We do not yet know an official cause of death.

A recent ESPN profile of Morrison gave a rare glimpse into his strange and secretive later life. It paints Morrison as troubled, to be sure, but also as a loving partner, son and caring friend who was, perhaps, too generous at times.

Morrison’s fight reels paint a picture of masterful violence — a skilled heavyweight boxer with speed and knockout power to spare. As Morrison’s family mourns his passing, let us fight fans enjoy some of the champ’s work in the sport he loved…

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Video Tribute: Looking Back at the Defining Moments in the Film (and Tennis) Career of Martial Arts Pioneer Jim Kelly


(Two legends in their primes, filming the greatest martial arts movie ever made.)

With surprisingly little reaction from the MMA blogosphere, martial arts pioneer Jim Kelly passed away over the weekend at the age of sixty-seven years old. Odds are pretty good that you recognize Kelly as Williams from Enter The Dragon, but his legacy is far greater than just that one role. Armed with his signature afro, one-liners and arsenal of kicks, Kelly broke the color-barrier for black actors in martial arts films at a time when the genre was almost exclusively reserved for Asian martial artists.

Aside from being one of the most instantly recognizable martial artists on the planet, Kelly also found the time to become a professional tennis player, an enthusiastic MMA fan, and a popular draw at conventions such as San Diego Comic-Con International. So in memory of Kelly, we’ve compiled videos of some of his greatest fights, interviews, and even some footage of him playing tennis. Enjoy.


Kelly and Lee working on fight scenes for Enter the Dragon.

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Boxing Legend Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho Dies at 50 Years Old


Camacho (white trunks) famously knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard in 1997. Leonard retired after the fight.

Puerto Rican boxing champion Hector “Macho” Camacho, famous for his aggressive style and flamboyant behavior in and out of the ring, was declared dead earlier today in San Juan, four days after he and his friend were shot in a parked car in the city of Bayamon. Hector Camacho, who was taken off of life support earlier this morning, died of a heart attack shortly afterwards, according to Dr. Ernesto Torres of the Centro Médico trauma center. His friend, Adrian Mojica Moreno, died immediately.

Details regarding the shooting are still being kept quiet. However, police have confirmed that Mojica had nine bags of cocaine on him when he was shot and that a tenth bag was found open in the car. No arrests have been made, and according to police spokesman Alex Diaz, neither man was expecting the attack.

Inside the ring, ‘Macho’ Camacho was one of the greatest to lace up the gloves. After winning three Golden Gloves titles as an amateur, he turned pro and quickly became a contender due to his aggressive, albeit cocky style of fighting. With Don King promoting him, Camacho would go on to win his first world title, the WBC Super Featherweight Championship, on Aug. 7, 1983. He would vacate the title to move up to lightweight two years later, capturing the WBC lightweight title by defeating Jose Luis Ramirez on August 10, 1985.

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