Tallahassee Mourns the Death of MMA fighter

Words by: Chelsea Stewart

UFC fighter Josh Samman died Wednesday, two days after he was found unconscious in his apartment, the Broward County Medical office confirmed to  USA TODAY Sports.

Samman was 28 and a native of Tallahassee.

“This is just brutal. Such a talented guy. Rest In Peace Josh,” Stipe Miocic, a UFC heavyweight champion, wrote in a post on his Twitter account.

According to an office support specialist at the medical examiner’s office, who declined to p20141205071120_img_1703rovide her full name, the cause of death is pending an autopsy, which was scheduled for Wednesday. Sandra, the specialist, said Hurricane Matthew could delay the investigation.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported that Samman and his roommate, Troy Kirkingburg, were both found unresponsive by a friend Thursday night at their Hollywood Beach Gardens apartment.

The responding officers saw no signs of foul play. Samman was breathing and had a pulse on Thursday. He was declared brain dead and moved to hospice late Tuesday night while Kirkingburg, who was 28 and also a native of Tallahassee, was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Josh, was such a young and intelligent dude. He had a few hard, tough years but even within that he accomplished a lot,” said fellow MMA fighter, Gilbert Smith.

Smith was the first person to publicly announce Samman’s death.

Samman documented previous struggles with heroin and prescription drugs in his 2013 memoir, The Housekeeper: Love, Death and Prize Fighting. His mother has since denied those claims in a statement, saying:

“In spite of speculation, there was no heroin found in Josh’s system whatsoever,” the statement read.

“No matter what people are posting on social media. The reason I am making this statement is, because Josh touched so many lives, and loved inspiring others, especially young people. I don’t want them to lose faith in him, and whatever he brought out in them, because of the lies. He would want them to never give up.”

Samman began MMC fighting in 2007. In 2013, he landed a spot on the reality show, “The Ultimate Fighter.”  He spent the last three years fighting under the UFC banner, earning a 3-2 record.

At the time of his death, Samman was ranked at No. 31 in middleweight rankings. He lost his last two fights, one against Tim Boetsch, and the other against Tamdan McCrory. His upcoming UFC appearance was scheduled against Oluwale Bamgbose on December 9th at a UFC Fight Night event in Albany, New York.

“The death of a teammate is like a brother. Not feelings his energy in the gym is something that will be missed greatly,” professional mixed martial artist, Jim Alers, said.

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