'Really sad': UFC rocked by former fighter's tragic death at 49

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Brian Gassaway, pictured here in the UFC.
Brian Gassaway has died at the age of 49. Image: Twitter

The MMA world is mourning the tragic death of former UFC fighter Brian Gassaway at 49.

Gassaway competed in WEC, Bellator, King of the Cage, Shooto and Pancrase, as well as a brief stint in the UFC.

He was best known for his fight against Diego Sanchez at UFC 54 in 2005, which he lost by second-round TKO.

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That was Gassaway's lone fight at UFC level, however he went on to compete in 52 professional bouts.

In 2011 he moved into coaching and was inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame in Illinois in 2018.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Gassaway's family.

“He lived his life with purpose and goodness, dedicating every waking moment to being a better person, husband, friend, fighter and coach,” the page reads.

“And, at the same time, he elevated the lives of all the people around him.”

Brian Gassaway, pictured here with his wife.
Brian Gassaway is survived by his wife and son. Image: Twitter

MMA world in mourning over Brian Gassaway's death

The American's family were among the many to pay tribute to Gassaway.

“Whether you were training for a fight on the big stage, competing in a smoker in a church basement, or training just to better yourself, Brian showed you the same love, effort, and attention,” they said.

“You always felt safe knowing that he was in the corner. 

"His calmness gave you confidence as he wrapped your hands in preparation to go into battle.

“His words gave you the knowledge from the experience of the countless wars he fought as you marched to the ring.

"And his energy gave you strength and courage as the bell rang and you walked into the fire. 

“One thing was certain: You always knew that Brian was fighting right there alongside you. 

“And after the fights were fought, after the fans left the stadium, after the lights went dark, Brain was still there, sitting quietly alongside you.”

The fighter nicknamed “Mandingo” is survived by his wife and one son.

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