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Tag: deaths

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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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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Tim Kennedy Was Apparently Not the Biggest Fan of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela died yesterday, marking the end of a life lauded as inspirational and heroic by millions around the world. The first black president of South Africa, Mandela is hailed as a central figure in the fight against apartheid and its brutal legacy of racial segregation.

In case it needs to be mentioned, Mandela was not American, and as such, not all of his beliefs reflected traditional American values. He publicly supported Fidel Castro and Moammar Gadhafi, and was a ferocious critic of American foreign policy. By definition, he was a revolutionary, determined to tear down existing social structures in his home country. He wasn’t one of those non-violent types, either. The militant group that Mandela co-founded, Umkhonto we Sizwe, carried out guerrilla attacks that were aimed at government targets but resulted in numerous civilian deaths.

Maybe you didn’t know that stuff; the darker pages of Mandela’s story certainly aren’t emphasized in mainstream eulogies of his life. On the other hand, you can be an American patriot and still respect Mandela for the life he led, his indomitable spirit, the battles he fought and won for human justice. The world is a better, fairer place today because he existed.

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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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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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Jeff Blatnick, 1957-2012: A Pioneer and a Friend


(Jeff Blatnick with Madeleine Genia. Photo courtesy of the author.)

By Jim Genia

Jeff Blatnick, a two-time Olympian and gold medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling in the 1984 Summer Olympics, died today at age 55 due to complications from heart surgery. It’s a blow to amateur wrestling, as Blatnick was a indefatigable coach, and it’s a blow to MMA, as Blatnick was a pioneer in the sport and widely considered to be one of the best cageside judges in the business. And if you knew the man, and were privileged enough to call him a friend, well, it isn’t so much a blow as it’s an Anderson Silva-esque knee to the solar plexus.

His accomplishments were many and awe-inspiring. His gold medal came after battling back cancer, and he only gave up competing when the cancer returned and he had to undergo chemotherapy. When the UFC came along, Blatnick became its first face of true legitimacy, working in front of the camera as a commentator (a gig he held from UFC 4 to UFC 32) and later, behind the scenes as the organization’s — and really, the sport’s — vanguard in the quest for sanctioning and mainstream acceptance. Prior to the crafting of the Unified Rules, there were the rules that Blatnick helped develop to tame the spectacle. And perhaps most notable of all, there was the name he wanted the sport to adopt: “mixed martial arts.” (Before then, it was called no-holds-barred – a barbaric throwback to the bloodsport that wound up banned throughout most of the country in the mid ’90s).

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Autopsy Shows Amateur Fighter Dustin Jenson Died of Unrelated Blunt Force Trauma


Jenson, pictured on the right (black shorts), died of a seizure after competing in an unregulated MMA event.

On May 18th, twenty-six year old Sturgis, South Dakota native Dustin Jenson competed in an unregulated Ring Wars event in South Dakota. Although Jenson was quickly submitted by a triangle choke by Hayden Hensrud, he took no significant blows to the head and remained conscious after he tapped out. However, shortly after the fight Dustin was found by another fighter having a seizure. He was rushed to Rapid City Regional Hospital, where he would eventually die on May 24th.

An autopsy has revealed that blunt force trauma suffered the week before his fight is the official cause of Dustin Jenson’s untimely demise. As The Rapid City Journal reports:

The autopsy indicated the cause of death was a subdural hemorrhage resulting from blunt force trauma to the head. A subdural hemorrhage is a collection of blood on the surface of the brain and often causes brain injury and death.

The cause was related to an injury about a week earlier, according to the autopsy. The Sheriff’s Office said there is no conclusive evidence the injury was sustained in the fight.

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Amateur Fighter Dustin Jenson Dies Following Unregulated MMA Event in South Dakota


(Dustin Jenson, shown with his daughter Amora and wife Rebecca. Photo courtesy of his family’s GoFundMe page.)

A 26-year-old amateur MMA fighter named Dustin Jenson died last Thursday, after suffering a seizure following a triangle-choke loss to Hayden Hensrud at a Ring Wars event, May 18th in Rapid City, South Dakota. Jenson was participating in his fifth fight, and had begun competing in the sport less than a year ago. Funeral services were scheduled today at First Wesleyan Church in Sturgis. Rapid City Journal has more details:

Dustin Jenson, 26, was participating in full-contact fights at a RingWars event May 18 when he tapped out — a signal to end the fight. According to his mother-in-law, Violet Schieman, Jensen then watched the next two fights before going to the locker room area, where he suffered a seizure.

“He laid down to do his stretches, and another fighter heard a moan,” Schieman said. “He went over and saw Dustin having a seizure. They called an EMT, which took him to Rapid City Regional Hospital.”

Schieman said medical personnel determined that Jenson had increased pressure on his brain and put him in a medically induced coma before surgery was performed to relieve pressure. He was declared dead May 24 and was taken off life support the next day, Schieman said.

“He did not wake up after the surgery and was declared brain dead at 10:23 a.m.,” she said. “He remained on life support until his organs were donated.”

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Dead MMA Fighter of the Month: Justin Levens


(Photo via the Justin Levens Remembrance Album on CombatLifestyle.com / Props to Deadspin‘s brilliant “Dead Wrestler of the Week” feature for the inspiration.)

By Ben Goldstein

All murder-suicides are shocking. Not all of them are entirely surprising.

On December 17th, 2008, UFC/WEC veteran Justin Levens and his wife Sara McLean-Levens were found dead inside their condominium in Laguna Niguel, California, both from gunshot wounds. Initial evidence suggested that Justin was the shooter. “It was a chest wound that penetrated her heart and killed her, and his was to the head,” said O. C. Sheriff Coroner’s Office spokesman Jim Amormino.

Amormino confirmed that painkillers and anti-depressants were discovered in the Levens’s home, along with the handgun Justin allegedly used to end their lives. Police had visited Justin and Sara at least twice in the previous month, once to investigate a possible drug overdose.

At the time of his death, Justin Levens was 28 years old and hadn’t won an MMA match in over two years. He’d gone 0-5 in 2007 — an agonizing year in which his close friend and IFL teammate Jeremy Williams committed suicide, also by shooting himself — and was dealt a six-month suspension by the California State Athletic Commission in July 2008 when a pre-fight drug test came back off-the-charts for the painkiller Oxymorphone. For the last five months of his life, Levens was unable to earn a living as a fighter, and fell deeper into a spiral of depression and prescription drug use.

Justin didn’t leave a suicide note. There were no signs of a struggle. He and Sara had already been dead for four days when their bodies were discovered.

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