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MMA fighters who died in 2016

While Hollywood and the music world mourned the loss of icons in 2016, the MMA community wasn't dry-eyed either

Editor's Pick 09 Jan 2017, 23:18 IST
Even at an age when most in the sport traded gloves for mitts, Slice drew ratings by the boatload

Many would agree that 2016 was an exceptional year for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts; some would proffer that it is the best the sport has yet witnessed. The gargantuan $4.2 billion sale of the UFC is emblematic of the bounds made by a sport that has left the nest of nicheness and is beating its wings to the stratosphere. 

Conor McGregor’s epoch-making conquest at UFC 205 sent waves that drew gazes, equally far and near, on his bearded, inked corpus and more significantly, the sport itself. Staying true to its tag as a trailblazer, the UFC has announced a fight for the first-of-its-kind Women’s Featherweight Championship. This could be the ink on the first page of what might prove another bestseller, just like the Women’s Bantamweight Division. Dana White, the same man who said that women would never have a place in the UFC, is probably too deep in his lagoon of $360 million for his foot to come anywhere near his mouth. 

But, as Oscar Wilde trenchantly said, the truth is rarely pure and never simple. The sun that rises for some, sets on others. The MMA world lost a few of its own; some promising young battlers and and a couple of revered warriors. We may have closed the book on 2016, but let us spare a thought for those who put themselves through the crucible just so we could have something to cheer for.

#7 Ivan “JP” Cole

He played a dangerous game and paid the ultimate cost

It is always harrowing to hear of a young life being taken away, even more so when it is by their own hand. 25-year-old Ivan Cole’s body was found in a Dallas apartment, the cause of death being a bullet to the head. What is so disturbing about this tragedy is that he inflicted the fatal blow on himself, through Russian Roulette. 

A Bantamweight, Cole had just had debuted for Bellator last year, losing by submission. He was reportedly fined $5000 and suspended for unsportsmanlike conduct. Cole is survived by his wife, Kymberli and a 4-year-old daughter.

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