21 Dead UFC Fighters Who Were Taken Too Soon (UFC Deaths)

MMA Hive is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more ›.

Fighting is obviously a risky sport, the likelihood of head trauma is very real. And yes, several fighters that have competed in the UFC have died.

But you might be surprised to know that most dead UFC fighters passed away for other health reasons.

I’ve pulled together a total of 21 names of UFC fighters who sadly passed away too early and sorted them by the most recent deaths:

FighterBornDiedCause of deathAge at deathFight Record
Felipe ColaresMarch 31, 1994May 1, 2023Hit by a bus2917-4
Abdul-Kerim EdilovNovember 25, 1991December 29, 2022Suspicious/unknown3117-4
Anthony JohnsonMarch 6, 1984November 13, 2022Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma3823-6
Elias TheodorouMay 31, 1988September 11, 2022Colon Cancer3419-3
Rodrigo Goiana de LimaMarch 3, 1991April 21, 2019Murdered289-3-1
Norifumi YamamotoMarch 15, 1977September 18, 2018Stomach cancer4118-6-0-2
Tim HagueMay 9, 1983June 18, 2017Brain hemorrhage3421-13
Josh SammanMarch 14, 1988October 5, 2016Drug overdose2812-4
Amar SuloevJanuary 7, 1976June 27, 2016Stomach cancer4024-7
Ryan JimmoNovember 27, 1981June 26, 2016Murdered3419-5
Kevin FergusonFebruary 8, 1974June 6, 2016Heart failure425-2-0-1
Kevin RandlemanAugust 10, 1971February 11, 2016Heart attack4417-16
Emmanuel YarbroughSeptember 5, 1964December 21, 2015Heart attack511-2
Corey HillOctober 3, 1978May 15, 2015Heart attack366-9
Kevin RosierJanuary 6, 1962April 14, 2015Heart attack532-6
Shane Del RosarioSeptember 23, 1983December 9, 2013Anoxic encephalopathy3011-2
Tony HalmeJanuary 6, 1963January 8, 2010Gunshot wound470-4
Justin EilersJune 28, 1978December 25, 2008Murdered3019-17-1
Justin LevensApril 18, 1980December 17, 2008Suicide289-8
Evan TannerFebruary 11, 1971September 5, 2008Heat exposure3732-8
Gilbert AldanaAugust 25, 1977March 11, 2007Drowned296-2

To learn more about each of these fighters and the impact they had on the UFC and the world of MMA, keep reading!

Felipe Colares — May 1, 2023

  • Born: March 31, 1994
  • Died: May 1, 2023
  • Cause of death: Hit by a bus
  • Age at death: 29
  • Fight record: 17-4
  • UFC record: 2-4

Felipe Colares tragically lost his life on May 1, 2023, at the young age of 29.

It was said to be an accident where Colares was hit by a bus when returning home from a gym training session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The local fire department were quick on to the scene but his injuries were too heavy and he passed away on the way to the hospital.

Felipe was the feature of the news just a few months earlier for showing heroics by subduing a criminal attempting a robbery using Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

He was a young man with a big heart, as he dedicated significant amounts of his own time in the Empoderadas program, an initiative aimed at raising awareness about violence against women and teaching self-defense techniques.

Before his passing, Felipe Colares amassed a record of 17 wins and 4 losses and was a UFC competitor from 2019 to 2022.

He was let go by the promotion after a loss to Chase Hooper at UFC Fight Night 206 and a 2-4 record during his time there.

Felipe moved on to compete with Ares FC and secured a win against Alioune Nahaye in February 2023 before he died.

Seeing a young fighter pass away so young is incredibly tragic, but I hope that the good he did while he was alive will inspire others to follow.

Abdul-Kerim Edilov — December 29, 2022

  • Born: November 25, 1991
  • Died: December 29, 2022
  • Cause of death: Suspicious/unknown
  • Age at death: 31
  • Fight record: 17-4
  • UFC record: 1-0

Abdul-Kerim Edilov passed away on December 29, 2022 in suspicious circumstances, aged 31.

There has been plenty of debate surrounding his death, as Abdul-Kerim was not just an MMA fighter but also a significant figure in Chechnya and notable for his relationship to Chechnya’s powerful leader, Ramzan Kadyrov.

Kadyrov has faced plenty of accusations during his leadership, with alleged crimes as strong as abuse of human rights, targeted torture and assassinations.

Edilov had close ties with the entire Kadyrov family, even acting as a coach and guardian for Ramzan’s children and chief of staff to Kadyrov. Eventually he was promoted as deputy prime minister of Chechnya in 2022.

But the situation sorely fell apart later in the year, when Abdul-Kerim Edilov stepped down from his position after reports that they had personal conflict.

Enjoying this article? Share it with your friends:

Many opposition to the Chechnya regime claim that their falling out is a direct cause to Edilov’s death.

Edilov was a strong MMA fighter prior to working for Kadyrov, with an eleven fight win-streak leading up to his retirement in 2017, including a victory over Jiri Prochazka.

His final victory was his one and only UFC fight against Bojan Mihajlovic for UFC Fight Night 115.

The Russian had a swift fall from grace after getting so close to the Kadyrov family, with some reporting that he fell into drug use then tortured before his passing.

What adds fuel to the fire is how his Instagram account that included pictures of Kadyrov and his children was deleted.

Now, Khamzat Chimaev appears to fill the place as guardian and MMA coach to Kadyrov’s children and favorite fighter of the controversial leader.

We can only hope that the allegations against Kadyrov are false and Chimaev isn’t anywhere close to facing a similar fate.

Anthony Johnson — November 13, 2022

Anthony "Rumble" Johnson
Ringside cameraman, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Born: March 6, 1984
  • Died: November 13, 2022
  • Cause of death: Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Age at death: 38
  • Fight record: 23-6
  • UFC record: 13-6

Anthony “Rumble” Johnson passed away on November 13, 2022 due to a Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system.

Rumble was a formidable Light Heavyweight competitor who had a solid record throughout his MMA career and had notable victories over the likes of Dan Hardy, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Glover Teixeira.

His last matchup inside the UFC was against the legend Daniel Cormier at UFC 210 before he retired.

Johnson moved on to Bellator MMA where he had a fight as recent as 2021 and was victorious over Jose Augusto Azevedo Barros before his passing.

Bellator MMA confirmed Rumble’s death while noting that he had been battling with illness for more than a year. In September 2021, Anthony himself had shared on Instagram that he was facing some health problems.

Anthony left a big mark on the sport and his death only highlighted this with an outpouring of admiration and respect for him from fighters like Daniel Cormier and dozens more.

DC commented how Johnson was an incredibly caring and heartfelt athlete, often reaching out to other fighters to offer them support during their own difficult times and heavy losses.

Anthony had two separate stints of time with the UFC, first between way back in 2007 to 2012 and he was let go after a loss to Vitor Belfort.

But a six fight win-streak at other promotions would see him return again to the UFC where he competed between 2014 to 2017.

Rumble was best known for the excitement he brought to his fights, partly because of his warm and energetic personality but also the knockout power in his hands.

In fact, 17 of AJ’s wins were by KO/TKO!

One fighter that died too young and we’ll always remember for the impact he had on the lives of fans and his fellow athletes.

Elias Theodorou — September 11, 2022

Elias Theodorou
MMAnytt, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Born: May 31, 1988
  • Died: September 11, 2022
  • Cause of death: Colon Cancer
  • Age at death: 34
  • Fight record: 19-3
  • UFC record: 8-3

The MMA world mourns the loss of Elias Theodorou, a former UFC fighter and cannabis advocate, who passed away at the age of 34 after a valiant battle with colon cancer that had metastasized. Surrounded by his family and loved ones, Theodorou’s indomitable spirit shone through even in the face of adversity.

Elias Theodorou, a Canadian mixed martial artist, boasted a career record of 19 wins and 3 losses. He made his mark in the UFC’s middleweight division, where he climbed the ranks to No. 13 before parting ways with the organization in 2019. Undeterred by his departure from the UFC, Theodorou continued to compete and impress, going undefeated in three fights outside the promotion.

In 2020, Theodorou achieved a groundbreaking milestone by becoming the first professional athlete in North America publicly known to receive a therapeutic use exemption for medical cannabis. This exemption, granted by the British Columbia Athletic Commission, underscored the important role cannabis played in alleviating his bilateral neuropathy, a condition resulting from nerve damage outside the brain and spinal cord.

Elias Theodorou was not just a fighter; he was an outspoken advocate for medical cannabis. He believed in the positive impact of cannabis and its potential to help athletes manage their health issues without fear of persecution or penalties. His advocacy resonated with many, and he was proud of the work he had accomplished in this field.

In an interview with CBS News before his fight with Bryan Baker, Theodorou expressed his pride in his medical cannabis advocacy. He lamented the outdated mindset that classified cannabis as a drug and called for a more enlightened perspective, especially in the world of sports.

Elias Theodorou’s legacy extends beyond the octagon; he will be remembered not only for his fighting prowess but also for his courage in advocating for a more compassionate and progressive approach to medical cannabis use in sports. His optimism and dedication to his cause remain an inspiration to all.

Rodrigo Goiana de Lima — April 21, 2019

  • Born: March 3, 1991
  • Died: April 21, 2019
  • Cause of death: Murdered
  • Age at death: 28
  • Fight record: 9-3-1
  • UFC record: 0-2

Rodrigo de Lima, a former UFC fighter known as “Monstro,” met a tragic end on April 21, 2019, at the age of 28. His life was cut short in a shocking incident that occurred in the Brazilian city of Belém. De Lima had a dispute with a rideshare driver, which escalated to a horrifying confrontation.

According to authorities, the argument between De Lima and the driver took a tragic turn when De Lima exited the vehicle. The driver allegedly ran over him, leading to the fighter’s untimely death. Brazilian police launched a search for the suspect involved in this senseless act.

Michel Prazeres, a close friend and fellow UFC fighter who was with De Lima at the time, confirmed the heartbreaking news of his passing. De Lima, a father of two, left behind a 9-3-1 record in mixed martial arts, reflecting his dedication to the sport.

During his career, Rodrigo de Lima had the opportunity to showcase his skills in the UFC on two occasions. Although he faced formidable opponents in Neil Magny and Efrain Escudero, he displayed the courage and determination that defined his career. His last MMA fight took place the year before his tragic death, where he secured a victory by submission against Luiz Fabiano.

Rodrigo de Lima’s life was marked by his pursuit of excellence in the world of MMA. His untimely and violent end serves as a somber reminder of the unpredictability of life and the fragility of those who dedicate themselves to combat sports.

Norifumi Yamamoto — September 18, 2018

  • Born: March 15, 1977
  • Died: September 18, 2018
  • Cause of death: Stomach cancer
  • Age at death: 41
  • Fight record: 18-6-0-2
  • UFC record: 0-3-0-1

Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, a legendary fighter, and Japan’s beloved MMA superstar during the mid-2000s, passed away at the age of 41. His untimely death was attributed to a battle with stomach cancer. Yamamoto had shared his cancer diagnosis on Instagram in August 2018 and was undergoing treatment in Guam at the time of his passing.

Standing at just 5-foot-3 and weighing 141 pounds, Yamamoto defied physical odds by competing primarily as a lightweight and occasionally as a featherweight, often facing opponents who dwarfed him. Throughout his illustrious career, he achieved a remarkable 17-1 record before his initial retirement in 2007. This retirement followed a New Year’s Eve victory over Rani Yahya in Osaka.

Yamamoto’s rise to fame in Japan was meteoric, and he became a rock star-level celebrity with major commercial endorsements. He hailed from a renowned Japanese wrestling family, with his father, Ikuei, representing Japan in the 1972 Olympics, and his older sister Miyuu winning multiple world championships in wrestling. Despite his father’s initial reservations about MMA as a sport, Yamamoto’s pursuit of combat sports led him to Arizona, where he trained with Olympic silver medalist Townsend Saunders during high school.

Although Kid Yamamoto initially pursued wrestling and even announced his retirement from MMA in 2007 to chase a freestyle wrestling gold medal at the 2008 Olympics, his fighting career was marked by numerous achievements. He became Japan’s biggest MMA star in 2005 when he won the Hero’s lightweight championship, defeating notable opponents like Royler Gracie, Caol Uno, and Genki Sudo via knockout.

Yamamoto’s legacy in MMA included a four-second knockout win via a flying knee against Olympic wrestler Kazuyuki Miyata and a victory over 2004 Olympic gold medalist wrestler Istvan Majoros on the 2006 New Year’s Eve show.

Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto’s contributions to MMA and his enduring spirit continue to be remembered and celebrated by fans and the fighting community in Japan and beyond.

Tim Hague — June 18, 2017

  • Born: May 9, 1983
  • Died: June 18, 2017
  • Cause of death: Brain hemorrhage
  • Age at death: 34
  • Fight record: 21-13
  • UFC record: 1-3

Tim Hague, an MMA fighter known for his nickname “The Thrashing Machine,” tragically lost his life during a boxing match in Edmonton during the summer of 2017. His journey in combat sports began after he put his teaching career on hold to pursue professional mixed martial arts.

Hague’s fighting career spanned over a decade, where he amassed a record of 21 wins and 13 losses while competing in various MMA circuits, including the UFC. Although his UFC stint ended in 2011, Hague continued to pursue his passion for combat sports. However, he faced challenges, including a concussion that prompted him to take a break from fighting after his release from the UFC.

In what would become his final match, Hague had a last-minute opportunity to fight in Edmonton, and it seemed like a significant moment for the underdog heavyweight. Tragically, this fight led to his untimely death.

During a boxing match at Edmonton’s Shaw Conference Centre on June 16, 2017, Hague suffered a brain hemorrhage after being knocked out by Adam Braidwood. Hague had accepted the fight on short notice and was knocked down multiple times by his opponent. A devastating left uppercut in the second round left him unconscious. Despite initially walking to his dressing room, Hague lapsed into a coma.

Two days later, Tim Hague was taken off life support, and he passed away at the age of 34. An autopsy revealed that he had “mild, early stage” chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease often found in individuals with histories of repetitive brain trauma, such as athletes and military veterans.

Hague’s tragic death had a profound impact on the regulations governing combative sports in Edmonton and prompted calls for improved safety measures. It also drew attention to the importance of protecting fighters from the risks associated with repeated head trauma, highlighting the need for stricter rules and enhanced safety protocols in both boxing and mixed martial arts.

Josh Samman — October 5, 2016

  • Born: March 14, 1988
  • Died: October 5, 2016
  • Cause of death: Drug overdose
  • Age at death: 28
  • Fight record: 12-4
  • UFC record: 3-2

Tragedy struck the MMA community on October 5, 2016, when UFC middleweight fighter Josh Samman passed away at the young age of 28. His death was a result of a probable drug overdose, as confirmed by Dr. Craig Mallak, the chief medical examiner for Broward County, Florida.

Samman had been hospitalized for five days, with two of those days marked by him being brain-dead, before ultimately being declared dead at a hospice. Toxicology tests had been conducted, and the overdose was identified as the likely cause of his untimely demise.

The Hollywood Police Department’s report indicated that on September 29, officers responded to a call regarding a “possible drug overdose” and found Samman unresponsive at a friend’s residence. He was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital, but tragically, he did not recover. His friend, Troy Kirkingburg, also 28 years old, was found deceased at the scene, with the cause of his death remaining undetermined.

Josh Samman’s career in the UFC began in 2013, and he achieved a record of 3 wins and 2 losses during his time with the organization. He also gained recognition as a former contestant on the UFC’s reality series “The Ultimate Fighter.” Beyond his fighting career, Samman was a multi-talented individual who contributed written works to websites like BloodyElbow.com and UFC.com. He even authored a memoir titled “The Housekeeper: Love, Death and Prizefighting.”

Samman’s passing was a heartbreaking loss for the MMA community, serving as a stark reminder of the challenges and struggles faced by fighters both inside and outside the cage. His contributions to the sport and his literary endeavors continue to be remembered by those who knew and admired him.

Amar Suloev — June 27, 2016

  • Born: January 7, 1976
  • Died: June 27, 2016
  • Cause of death: Stomach cancer
  • Age at death: 40
  • Fight record: 24-7
  • UFC record: 0-2

Amar Suloev, a former UFC veteran and professional MMA fighter, tragically lost his battle with Stage 4 stomach cancer on June 27, 2016, at the age of 40. His passing marked the end of a tumultuous journey that included a successful fighting career and legal troubles in Russia.

Suloev began his professional MMA career in 1999, competing until 2008. He made his debut under the M-1 Global banner, where he faced Andrei Semenov, suffering a submission loss. Notably, Suloev participated in the 11th edition of the World Vale Tudo Championship, a bare-knuckle tournament, where he impressively won all three fights in a single night. This remarkable performance was featured in one of the earliest MMA documentaries, ‘Rites of Passage.’

During his career, Suloev enjoyed an eight-fight winning streak that earned him the opportunity to fight in the UFC. His debut opponent was none other than Chuck Liddell, where Amar showcased his toughness by lasting the full 15-minute duration but ultimately lost by unanimous decision. He was given another chance in the UFC, facing Phil Baroni, who knocked him out within the first three minutes of the fight, leading to the end of Suloev’s UFC tenure.

Afterward, Suloev continued to compete in organizations like Pride FC, Cage Rage, M-1 Global, and BodogFight, where he fought Chael Sonnen. He retired in 2008 with a record of 24 wins and 7 losses, leaving his mark on the MMA world. Notably, he had a submission move named after him, a variation of the thigh slicer known as ‘The Suloev Stretch.’

However, Suloev’s life took a dark turn after his retirement when he was arrested in 2013 as part of a gang charged with the attempted assassinations of political figures in Russia. He spent three years behind bars and on trial alongside other defendants. After being released on bail in February 2016 due to his diagnosis of stage four stomach cancer, his health rapidly declined over the next few months, eventually leading to his passing.

Amar Suloev’s life was marked by both triumphs in the MMA world and significant challenges outside of it. His passing left a lasting impact, and a memorial was held in his honor in Anapa.

Ryan Jimmo — June 26, 2016

  • Born: November 27, 1981
  • Died: June 26, 2016
  • Cause of death: Murdered
  • Age at death: 34
  • Fight record: 19-5
  • UFC record: 3-4

Ryan Jimmo, a Canadian mixed martial artist who competed in the UFC light heavyweight division from 2012 to 2015, met a tragic end on June 26, 2016. He fell victim to a fatal hit-and-run incident involving a truck driver and later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.

The incident occurred in a parking lot on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton, Canada, where Jimmo was struck by the truck. At the time of his passing, Ryan Jimmo was 34 years old, leaving behind a promising career and a bright future.

Jimmo boasted a professional mixed martial arts record of 19 wins and 5 losses. During his seven UFC appearances, he secured three victories but suffered four defeats. His final fight in the Octagon took place at UFC Fight Night 67 on May 30, 2015, against Francimar Barroso, which he lost via decision.

The resolution of Ryan Jimmo’s tragic death took nearly two-and-a-half years, finally culminating on December 3, 2018. Anthony Getschel, a 26-year-old individual involved in the hit-and-run incident, received a sentence of six years for manslaughter and an additional two years for fleeing the scene. Moreover, his driving privileges were revoked for eight years following his release.

Despite initially attempting to evade authorities, Getschel turned himself in within 48 hours. While he pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, he did admit guilt to manslaughter and the hit-and-run charges. The sentencing was carried out by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Paul Belzil, who described the entire incident as “a complete tragedy.”

Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson — June 6, 2016

  • Born: February 8, 1974
  • Died: June 6, 2016
  • Cause of death: Heart failure
  • Age at death: 42
  • Fight record: 5-2-0-1
  • UFC record: 1-1

MMA fighter Kevin Ferguson, widely known as Kimbo Slice, met a tragic end at the young age of 42. The details surrounding his untimely demise are both heartbreaking and shocking.

Ferguson was admitted to Northwest Medical Center in Margate, Florida, on Friday, complaining of severe abdominal pain, shortness of breath, and nausea. Medical examinations conducted at the hospital unveiled a liver mass and congestive heart failure, leading to his placement on a ventilator in intensive care. Unfortunately, his health continued to deteriorate, and he was diagnosed with heart failure. The devastating news was conveyed to Ferguson’s family, who were informed that he urgently needed a heart transplant.

Preparations were underway to transfer Kimbo Slice to a facility in Cleveland, where he could potentially be placed on an organ donor list. However, the MMA fighter passed away at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, before he could be transported.

It’s worth noting that the report confirmed that Slice had no history of illicit drug use, and there were no suspicions of trauma or foul play involved in his death.

Mike Imber, Kimbo’s longtime manager and childhood friend, shared the somber details of the ordeal, revealing that Kimbo had fallen seriously ill during a trip to Germany in March. Although he initially complained of feeling unwell, his condition took a sudden and tragic turn.

Kimbo Slice was slated to face James Thompson at Bellator 158 on July 16 in London, highlighting the cruel unpredictability of life in the world of mixed martial arts. His passing marked a significant loss in the MMA community, leaving fans and fellow fighters mourning his untimely death.

Kevin Randleman — February 11, 2016

  • Born: August 10, 1971
  • Died: February 11, 2016
  • Cause of death: Heart attack (complications from pneumonia)
  • Age at death: 44
  • Fight record: 17-16
  • UFC record: 4-3

Former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman, nicknamed “The Monster,” passed away on Thursday night at the age of 44. His death was attributed to heart failure, which was caused by complications arising from pneumonia. Randleman had been hospitalized in San Diego after falling ill, and he subsequently experienced cardiac problems.

Randleman’s family shared their sentiments about his passing on his Facebook page, describing him as a gentle soul and loyal friend who would be deeply missed by those who loved him both inside and outside the cage.

Kevin Randleman achieved a significant milestone in his fighting career by winning the UFC heavyweight title in November 1999. He defended the championship once before losing it to Randy Couture in November 2000. Over the course of his career, Randleman amassed a record of 17 wins and 16 losses, with a UFC record of 4 wins and 3 losses.

Before his MMA career, Kevin Randleman had a remarkable wrestling background, being a two-time NCAA wrestling champion at Ohio State University. He secured national titles at 177 pounds in 1992 and 1993 and was a runner-up in 1991. His achievements in wrestling earned him three All-American honors, and he was inducted into the Ohio State hall of fame in 2004.

Kevin Randleman is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and four children. His passing was a somber moment for the world of mixed martial arts, and he was remembered as a legend in the sport.

Emmanuel Yarbrough — December 21, 2015

  • Born: September 5, 1964
  • Died: December 21, 2015
  • Cause of death: Heart attack
  • Age at death: 51
  • Fight record: 1-2
  • UFC record: 0-1

Emmanuel Yarbrough, a notable figure in the world of combat sports, passed away at the age of 51 on December 21, 2015. At the time of his death, the exact cause was not immediately known.

Yarbrough had a diverse athletic background, having excelled in wrestling and football during his college years at Morgan State University. He achieved the distinction of being a two-time All-American in the heavyweight division during his collegiate wrestling career.

After his college days, Emmanuel Yarbrough ventured into judo and began training under the guidance of Yoshisada Yonezuka. Despite his imposing size, standing at 6 feet 8 inches tall and weighing over 800 pounds, he became a popular figure in the world of sumo wrestling. Notably, he won the 1995 World Amateur Sumo Championships.

However, Yarbrough’s most enduring claim to fame came from his participation in UFC 3, which took place on September 9, 1994. This event occurred during the early days of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) when the sport was still evolving and lacked the structured rules seen in contemporary MMA. Yarbrough’s inclusion in the tournament became memorable thanks to his fight against Keith Hackney, which ended in a TKO victory for Hackney.

Despite his brief appearance in the UFC, Emmanuel Yarbrough made a lasting impression on the sport due to his charismatic personality and his status as the Guinness Book of World Records’ “largest athlete in the world” at one point.

The UFC released an official statement expressing condolences to Yarbrough’s family and friends, acknowledging his unique presence in the world of combat sports.

Following his combat sports career, Yarbrough transitioned into acting, appearing in movies alongside notable figures like Mickey Rourke and Diane Keaton. Additionally, he became a successful public speaker and used his experiences, particularly his struggle with childhood obesity, to inspire and educate others, particularly children, on overcoming similar challenges.

Corey Hill — May 15, 2015

  • Born: October 3, 1978
  • Died: May 15, 2015
  • Cause of death: Heart attack
  • Age at death: 36
  • Fight record: 6-9
  • UFC record: 1-2

Corey Hill, a professional mixed martial artist, tragically passed away at the age of 36 on May 15, 2015, due to complications arising from pneumonia. His death was confirmed by UFC officials, who expressed their condolences to his family and friends.

Hill was known for his time as a lightweight competitor in the UFC, where he fought multiple times in 2008. He also gained recognition as a contestant on “The Ultimate Fighter” season 5, a reality show that featured aspiring MMA fighters competing for a chance to earn a UFC contract.

Despite his challenges in the sport, Corey Hill remained a dedicated and determined fighter. He continued to pursue his career as an active fighter, with his last recorded fight taking place on February 6, although this was not long before his untimely passing.

One of the most significant moments in Corey Hill’s MMA career occurred during his final UFC appearance at a Fight for the Troops event on December 10, 2008. During this fight, he suffered a gruesome injury, fracturing both his tibia and fibula in his right leg while attempting a leg kick that was checked by his opponent, Dale Hartt. This injury was a notable and highly publicized moment in MMA history.

Despite the severe leg injury, Corey Hill displayed incredible resilience and determination. He successfully returned to the sport 13 months later, winning a bout against Jason Trzewieczynski via unanimous decision in January 2010.

Corey Hill’s fighting spirit and dedication to the sport left a lasting impact on the MMA community, and his unfortunate passing was met with sorrow and remembrance by those who knew him.

Kevin Rosier — April 14, 2015

  • Born: January 6, 1962
  • Died: April 14, 2015
  • Cause of death: Heart attack
  • Age at death: 53
  • Fight record: 2-6
  • UFC record: 1-2

Kevin Rosier, a veteran of the early days of the UFC, passed away at the age of 53 on April 14, 2015, after suffering a fatal heart attack. He was among the pioneers of mixed martial arts and played a significant role in the early history of the UFC.

Rosier participated in the inaugural UFC 1 tournament in 1993. He achieved victory in the second fight ever aired in UFC history, defeating Zane Frazier via TKO with a series of head stomps. This victory was a memorable moment in the early days of the sport. He went on to face Gerard Gordeau in the semifinals of the tournament, where he suffered a TKO loss.

Before entering the world of MMA, Kevin Rosier was a successful kickboxer, holding multiple titles in the sport. His background in striking likely contributed to his early success in the UFC.

Throughout his MMA career, Rosier had a total of eight professional fights, with a record of 2 wins and 6 losses. His losses included bouts against fighters like Dan Severn and Joe Charles. He retired from professional MMA in 2000.

In the later years of his life, Kevin Rosier faced health challenges, including issues related to his weight. He had open-heart surgery and spent time in VA hospitals. Despite his health struggles, he remained a memorable figure in the MMA community.

Art Davie, one of the co-founders of the UFC, recalled Rosier as a confident and buoyant personality. He remembered Rosier as a larger-than-life character with a big heart who was well-liked by many.

Kevin Rosier’s legacy lives on as one of the early fighters who helped shape the sport of mixed martial arts, and his contributions to the early days of the UFC are still remembered by fans and enthusiasts of the sport.

Shane Del Rosario — December 9, 2013

  • Born: September 23, 1983
  • Died: December 9, 2013
  • Cause of death: Anoxic encephalopathy
  • Age at death: 30
  • Fight record: 11-2
  • UFC record: 0-2

Shane Del Rosario, a promising UFC heavyweight, tragically passed away on December 9, 2013, at the age of 30. His untimely death was the result of anoxic encephalopathy, a condition characterized by a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Del Rosario’s health crisis began on November 26, 2013, when he suffered sudden cardiac arrest at his home. He was rushed to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, California, where he was placed on life support. Although doctors were able to resuscitate him in the emergency room, he displayed no signs of brain activity upon admission to the hospital’s coronary care unit.

Medical professionals attempted various measures to induce therapeutic hypothermia and restart body and brain functions, but unfortunately, Del Rosario’s condition did not improve.

The news of Shane Del Rosario’s passing deeply affected the MMA community, with teammates, friends, and fans expressing their condolences and sharing their memories of the fighter. Del Rosario was known for his friendly and positive personality, and his loss was mourned by many.

In addition to his accomplishments in the world of MMA, Del Rosario’s family expressed interest in starting a charitable foundation to support research on long QT syndrome, the congenital heart disorder that may have contributed to his cardiac arrest. Del Rosario’s family also honored his wish to be an organ donor.

Shane Del Rosario had a promising career in mixed martial arts, amassing an impressive record of 11 wins and 2 losses before his untimely passing. He competed in various promotions, including Strikeforce, M-1 Global, and the UFC. Del Rosario’s achievements also extended to kickboxing and muay thai, making him a versatile and accomplished combat sports athlete.

His passing served as a reminder of the importance of addressing and understanding cardiac health in the world of combat sports, as well as the need for continued research and awareness of heart conditions that can affect athletes. Shane Del Rosario’s memory lives on in the hearts of those who knew him and in the contributions his family made in his honor.

Tony Halme — January 8, 2010

  • Born: January 6, 1963
  • Died: January 8, 2010
  • Cause of death: Gunshot wound
  • Age at death: 47
  • Fight record: 0-4
  • UFC record: 0-1

Tony Halme, known to mixed martial arts and professional wrestling fans as “The Viking” and “Ludvig Borga,” had a career that spanned both the world of combat sports and entertainment. Sadly, he passed away at the age of 47 on January 8, 2010, just two days after his birthday, as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Halme is perhaps best remembered in the MMA world as the debut opponent for the legendary Randy Couture at UFC 13: “The Ultimate Force” on May 30, 1997. In that bout, Couture quickly secured a rear-naked choke, resulting in a submission victory just 56 seconds into the first round. The loss to Couture marked the fourth consecutive defeat for Halme in his MMA career.

Before venturing into MMA, Tony Halme had a notable wrestling career, which included a stint with New Japan Pro Wrestling. However, his transition to the world of MMA didn’t yield much success, with a string of losses in Japan’s RINGS promotion prior to his appearance in the UFC.

Outside of combat sports, Halme had a colorful career in professional wrestling, particularly as “Ludvig Borga” in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). His wrestling persona was that of a brooding and menacing character, which made him a memorable figure in the industry.

Tragically, Tony Halme’s life took a dark turn, culminating in his self-inflicted gunshot wound and subsequent passing on January 8, 2010. His death was a somber moment for those who followed his career in both wrestling and MMA. Despite the challenges and difficulties he faced in his later years, he left a mark on the world of sports and entertainment during his time in the spotlight.

Justin Eilers — December 25, 2008

  • Born: June 28, 1978
  • Died: December 25, 2008
  • Cause of death: Murdered
  • Age at death: 30
  • Fight record: 19-17-1
  • UFC record: 1-3

Justin Eilers was a mixed martial artist whose life was tragically cut short on Christmas night in 2008. He was fatally shot by his stepfather, James Malec, during a family Christmas party in Nampa, Idaho, following an argument with his former girlfriend about time spent with their son. Malec, who had a longstanding feud with Eilers, sided with the girlfriend and instigated the argument. In the midst of the confrontation, Eilers was shot in the chest by Malec.

Eilers’ mother, Gwen Moore, was an eyewitness to the tragedy and described the shocking events that unfolded during the argument and shooting. James Malec, a former police officer, was initially charged with second-degree murder but later had the charge reduced to manslaughter. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison but was released on parole in August 2013 after serving approximately six and a half years.

Justin Eilers’ journey into mixed martial arts began when former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver encouraged him to join the renowned Miletich Fighting Systems team in the Quad Cities. Eilers had previously pursued a career in football at Iowa State University but transitioned to MMA after being told he was too small for the NFL during free agent camps.

Eilers started his MMA career with a fight against the legendary Dan Severn, though he lost by decision. He went on to win nine of his next ten fights, earning him an opportunity in the UFC. In the UFC, he defeated his childhood friend Mike Kyle but faced losses to fighters like Paul Buentello and Andrei Arlovski, the latter being a short-notice bout for the UFC heavyweight championship where Eilers suffered significant injuries.

Despite challenges and setbacks, Eilers continued to develop his MMA skills and added several wins to his record. His decision to move to the light heavyweight division showed promise, but his untimely death at the age of 30 left a void in the MMA community, especially at Miletich Fighting Systems, where he was known for his playful antics and spirited contributions to the sport.

Justin Eilers is remembered by those who knew him for his athleticism, colorful personality, and his potential as a fighter. His tragic death remains a somber chapter in the history of mixed martial arts.

Justin Levens — December 17, 2008

  • Born: April 18, 1980
  • Died: December 17, 2008
  • Cause of death: Suicide
  • Age at death: 28
  • Fight record: 9-8
  • UFC record: 0-2

Justin Levens, known by the nickname “The Executioner,” was a mixed martial artist who competed from 2004 to 2008. His career in MMA had its highs and lows, with notable fights and a changing record over the years.

Levens began his professional MMA career with a victory against Hector Carrilo in 2004. For almost two years, he enjoyed a string of wins, building a reputation in the sport. However, his winning streak was interrupted when he faced Scott Smith in January 2006, resulting in a loss.

Levens had a significant opportunity when he was called in by the UFC to fight former UFC Middleweight Champion Evan Tanner as a replacement for the injured Jeremy Horn. Unfortunately, he lost the fight in the first round due to a triangle choke submission. Subsequent bouts against fighters like Jorge Santiago and others led to his release from the UFC after two consecutive losses.

Levens’ career continued with mixed results, including wins against Justin Hawes and Brian Warren but also several losses, some against future UFC fighters. His last scheduled fight in July 2008 was canceled due to time constraints and scheduling issues, and he tested positive for oxymorphone before the fight, resulting in a suspension until January 2009.

Outside of his MMA career, Justin Levens faced personal challenges, including legal issues related to domestic violence and assault cases. Friends and acquaintances reported that he may have been troubled by the decline of his fighting career, financial difficulties, and the suicide of fellow MMA fighter and friend Jeremy Williams.

Tragically, on December 17, 2008, Justin Levens and his wife, Sara McLean-Levens, were found dead in their Laguna Niguel, California home. Both had died of gunshot wounds, with Justin Levens suffering a fatal gunshot wound to the head. The circumstances surrounding their deaths were investigated as a possible murder-suicide, although no suicide note was found. A handgun was discovered near Justin Levens’ body, and there were no signs of a struggle. Justin Levens’ passing marked a somber chapter in the world of mixed martial arts.

Evan Tanner — September 5, 2008

  • Born: February 11, 1971
  • Died: September 5, 2008
  • Cause of death: Heat exposure
  • Age at death: 37
  • Fight record: 32-8
  • UFC record: 11-6

Evan Tanner was a compelling and inspirational figure in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA). His tragic death due to heat exposure during a camping trip in California’s Palo Verde mountain area on September 5, 2008, deeply affected the MMA community. Tanner’s passing was especially poignant because he was not only a fighter but also seen as a regular guy who faced life’s challenges with determination.

Born in Amarillo, Texas, Tanner worked various jobs before discovering mixed martial arts in 1997. He worked as a bouncer, cable TV contractor, framer, dishwasher, baker, ditch digger, and slaughterhouse worker. Despite these diverse experiences, he never saw himself as a fighter but rather as a poet, writer, or philosopher.

Tanner’s MMA career spanned 11 years, during which he had 42 professional bouts. He achieved notable victories over fighters such as Paul Buentello, Heath Herring, Ikuhisa Minowa, Justin McCully, Elvis Sinosic, Phil Baroni (twice), and Robbie Lawler. His most significant accomplishment was winning the UFC middleweight championship at UFC 51 on February 5, 2005, by defeating David Terrell in the first round.

While Tanner would lose the title to Rich Franklin in his first defense, he maintained a strong connection with the fans through his internet blogs. In his blogs, he shared his thoughts on life, struggles, and his experiences in and out of the Octagon. Tanner’s openness and authenticity resonated with fans, and he expressed a desire to give something back to them, emphasizing that he was just a regular guy fortunate enough to pursue his passion.

In 2008, after almost two years away from the UFC, Tanner made a triumphant return, emphasizing the importance of his journey and the value of his experiences. Despite facing setbacks in his final two bouts against Yushin Okami and Kendall Grove, Tanner remained undeterred and continued to live life to the fullest.

Tragically, there would be no more adventures for Evan Tanner. His untimely death due to heat exposure left a void in the MMA community. He was celebrated not only for his achievements in the sport but also for his resilience, honesty, and the inspiration he provided to others. Tanner’s legacy endures as a reminder of the unique spirit he brought to the world of mixed martial arts.

Gilbert Aldana — March 11, 2007

  • Born: August 25, 1977
  • Died: March 11, 2007
  • Cause of death: Drowned
  • Age at death: 29
  • Fight record: 6-2
  • UFC record: 0-2

Gilbert Aldana, a UFC veteran known as “El Peligroso” (The Dangerous One), tragically lost his life at the age of 29 in a boating accident that resulted in drowning. The incident occurred in his native Arizona.

Reports from Phoenix news stations KPHO and KSAZ indicated that Aldana drowned while attempting to retrieve a fallen shirt from the boat he was on. Despite efforts by a friend to rescue him, Aldana could not be saved. Divers from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office were engaged in the search for Aldana’s body in Phoenix’s Lake Pleasant.

Inside the Octagon, Aldana was a fierce fighter, known for his aggressive style and willingness to engage in thrilling stand-up battles with his opponents. He earned his nickname “El Peligroso” through his crowd-pleasing performances. His early MMA career was marked by quick and devastating victories, with five wins by knockout or technical knockout in just over three minutes of combined fight time. This success earned him an opportunity to compete in the UFC.

While competing in the UFC, Aldana faced formidable opponents such as Paul Buentello and Cheick Kongo, engaging in exciting bouts. Despite some setbacks, he started his journey back to the UFC with a remarkable 26-second submission victory over Rich Beecroft in Arizona.

Outside of his fighting career, Aldana worked as a sales manager for Valley Protective Services. He left behind a wife and two sons. His tragic passing deeply affected the mixed martial arts community, and UFC President Dana White expressed condolences and noted that Aldana would be missed by everyone in the sport.

Leave a Comment