December 26, 2016

R.I.P.: Remembering The MMA Fighters We Lost In 2016

By Adam Martin

The MMA world experienced a tough 2016, as many incredible fighters passed away. This piece is meant to remember the fighters we lost.

Kimbo Slice

One of the all-time most popular fighters in MMA history, Kevin Ferguson, better known as Kimbo Slice, was a larger-than-life figure. He became an overnight sensation after his street fights in Miami started appearing on YouTube in the mid-2000s, before signing with Elite XC and becoming a ratings superstar. Slice eventually made it to the UFC after a stint on The Ultimate Fighter, and later reappeared in boxing and then Bellator. On June 6, Slice was admitted to a hospital in Coral Springs, Florida, later passing away from heart failure. He had a 5-2, 1 NC record in MMA and a 7-0 record in boxing. Slice was 42 when he died.

Kevin Randleman

Randleman was the former UFC Heavyweight Champion and a big star in the early days of the UFC and PRIDE. He was known for explosive slams and his KO of Mirko Cro Cop at PRIDE Total Elimination 2004 remains one of the sport's all-time greatest knockouts. On February 11, Randleman suffered a fatal heart attack after being admitted to a San Diego hospital due to pneumonia, ultimately passing away at age 44. Randleman finished his MMA career with a 17-16 record.

Josh Samman

Samman was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter Season 17, where he lost to eventual winner Kelvin Gastelum. After the show he was signed to the UFC, going 3-2 overall. In addition to his fighting career, Samman was also an accomplished writer, writing a novel as well as contributing articles to UFC.com and BloodyElbow.com. On September 29, Samman was found unresponsive in Hollywood, Florida, going into a coma before passing away on October 6 at age 28. The details of his death remain murky, though drugs were rumored to be involved. He finished his career with a 12-4 record.

Ryan Jimmo

Jimmo was Canada's top light heavyweight fighter. He was a former champion in the Maximum Fighting Championship before signing with the UFC, where he went 3-4 overall, including a memorable seven-second KO of Anthony Perosh at UFC 149, which tied a UFC record. On June 16, Jimmo was the victim of a fatal hit-and-run in Edmonton, where he trained. He later succumbed to his injuries, passing away at age 34. His final MMA record was 19-5.

Jordan Parsons

Parsons was a bright young star who looked like a future champion in Bellator. On May 1, he was the victim of a hit-and-run, getting hit by an SUV during a job in Delray Beach, Florida. After having his left leg amputated, Parsons died of the injuries suffered in the hit-and-run on May 4. Just 25 years old, Parsons ended his MMA career with an 11-2 record.

Amar Suloev

Suloev was a UFC and PRIDE veteran. Accused of being a contract killer, Suloev spent three years in jail before being diagnosed and dying of stomach cancer at age 40 in his native Russia. He went 24-7 overall in MMA.

JP Cole

Cole was a Bellator veteran. On June 11, Cole was pronounced dead after allegedly shooting himself playing a game of Russian Roulette in Dallas. Cole was 25 at the time of death, finishing his career with a 2-3 record.

Blas Avena

Avena was a former Bellator and WEC veteran who finished his career with an 8-7 record. On May 4, his body was discovered in a Las Vegas apartment, and friends of Avena later said suicide was the cause of death. Avena was 32 when he died.

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2016 was a terrible year for MMA deaths. Let's hope 2017 doesn't end up this way.

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