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Just months removed from the passing of former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman, and weeks removed from the tragic deaths of Muhammad Ali and Kimbo Slice, the combat sports world has been rocked by yet another tragedy, as former UFC light heavyweight Ryan Jimmo (34) was killed in a hit-and-run early on Sunday morning in Edmonton.
According to a report from CBC, Jimmo’s death followed a verbal altercation in the parking lot of H2O Lounge on Whyte Ave and 101st Street. After approaching the driver of another vehicle on foot, Jimmo is believed to have begun walking away, at which point the other driver accelerated, struck Jimmo, and fled the scene.
At the time of this writing, the driver has not yet been identified, though the police are on the hunt for a dark-coloured pickup truck, modified with a lift-kit, and occupied by two or more Caucasian men.
Unsurprisingly, this tragic accident has sent a shockwave through the combat sports community. Dozens of respected fighters, such as former UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman and upcoming title challengers Frankie Edgar and Alistair Overeem, were quick to voice their sadness and condolences on social media. UFC President Dana White, who has been criticized by Jimmo in the past, took to Twitter to do the same.
Though Jimmo’s conservative fighting style was occasionally criticized, he was certainly not without his moments of brilliance. The greatest of these moments occurred in his UFC debut, when he snuffed Australia’s Anthony Perosh in just seven seconds for one of the fastest knockouts in UFC history—a victory he famously celebrated by doing the robot in the cage. Jimmo also dazzled with a first-round knockout of the notoriously durable Sean O’Connell in his fifth fight with the UFC.
Perhaps most importantly of all, however, the Saint John born fighter will be remembered as one of MMA’s most sportsmanlike figures; a bona fide good guy in a sport that is often criticized for its brutality.
“He loved everyone. He was so kind,” Jimmo’s Aunt explained to CBC. “Ryan would help anyone who would need it, he was just that kind of guy. He lived his life the way he wanted, he was happy-go-lucky.”
A lifelong martial artist and the former light heavyweight champion of Edmonton’s Maximum Fighting Championship, Jimmo competed in the UFC seven times before eventually leaving the organization with a 19-5 overall record.