Tragically, 2019 has been another year where a number of fighters have passed away too soon, and in this article we’ll remember these fallen warriors, from former UFC stars and MMA veterans through to up-and-coming amateurs.
UFC veteran Patrick Smith passed away at the age of 55 on June 18th of this year due to bladder cancer.
A true pioneer in mixed martial arts, Smith fought at the first ever UFC event in 1993, though he would last less than two minutes before being tapped out to a heel hook against Ken Shamrock in the qualifying round.
The 3rd degree Taekwondo black belt returned for UFC 2 a few months later and this time he made a much bigger impact, securing a 58 second guillotine choke victory over Ray Wizard, followed by a 30 second TKO stoppage of Scott Morris and another guillotine stoppage in 57 seconds against Johnny Rhodes to qualify for the final.
However, Smith then came up against UFC 1 winner Royce Gracie and submitted to punches on the mat in a little over a minute.
Smith would go on to have one more fight in the promotion at UFC 6, emerging victorious via rear-naked choke, but his MMA career continued long after that, fighting for 16 years in total for promotions like K-1, Titan FC and numerous smaller regional organizations, tallying a 20-15 record overall before retiring in 2009.
However, Smith’s reputation in the MMA community had long been tarnished by having been convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in 1999, while he was also arrested in 2008 for failing to register as a sex-offender.