Tributes have been rolling in on social media after the tragic death of 30-year-old British MMA fighter, Jahreau Shepherd.
No cause of death has been reported for the fighter, whose passing was confirmed by his MMA promoters.
'BAD JUDGING': UFC boss fumes over Aussie's title defence
‘HOLY SH*T’: UFC world erupts over debutant's insane KO
‘OH MY GOD’: Disbelief over 'disturbing' illegal knockout
Contenders shared a heartbreaking tribute to Shepherd on their Instagram page, describing the fighter as a "warrior".
“Everyone at Contenders is absolutely devastated to hear of Jahreau Shepherd‘s death,” the post read.
“Jay, our welterweight champion, was hugely talented and great fun to be around, a big personality with a huge smile and infectious laugh.
“Inside the cage, he was destined for the top – a champion in three different organisations with heavy hands and a warrior heart.
“Our thoughts are with all his family and friends at this terrible time. Rest in peace, champ.”
Shepherd regarded as a ‘true gentleman’
The news was met with deep sadness in the fighting community, with MMA commentator Michael Morgan expressing his shock and despair over Shepherd's death.
“Absolutely shocked to hear the news this morning,” Morgan's Twitter post read.
“A true gentleman inside and outside the cage. Rest in peace #UKMMA’s Jahreau Shepherd.”
His sentiments were echoed by many fight fans, who took to social media to pay their respects to the fighter and his family.
Devestating news— Nabs (@iamnabsmehdi) July 12, 2020
Nooooo, say it ain't so.— The MMA Manor (@TheMMAManor) July 12, 2020
So crazy. Was an awesome dude. Always friendly and a pleasure to work with. RIP.— Richard Blackburn | EXEO (@TheBlackburn82) July 12, 2020
Met Jahreau Shepherd twice. Once when he fought at Bellator 200, then when he was working as media at Bellator London. Seemed like a really lovely bloke. My thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP. 🙌🏻 pic.twitter.com/QLTER70Qq4— Jake Smith (@jakesmithjourno) July 12, 2020
R.I.P. Jahreau Shepherd... british MMA has lost a rising star— Darryl Satcher (@DarrylSatcher) July 12, 2020
Awful to hear of the death of Contenders MMA Welterweight Champion Jahreau Shepherd. A very popular member of the UK MMA community.— Steve (@SCFack) July 12, 2020
Very sad news I'm hearing about Jahreau Shepherd. Top bloke and a talented fighter to boot. My condolences go out to his family— EmmettGMMA (@emmettglenn) July 12, 2020
RIP Jahreau Shepherd
Nicknamed ‘The Nightmare’, Shepherd was a popular and highly regarded fighter in the United Kingdom.
Viewed as a rising star of the sport, he was currently on a five-fight winning streak after beating Quinten de Vreught at Contenders 29 in February to be crowned welterweight champion.
He also fought under companies including Cage Warriors, Bellator, UCMMA and Fusion FC and boasted a 6-2 career record in the MMA.
The MMA UK Late show was cancelled on Sunday evening after news of his death was confirmed.