According to a report from Florida news outlet the Tallahassee Democrat, UFC middleweight Josh Samman was found unresponsive on Friday morning and is currently in a critical condition.
Samman’s friend Troy Kirkingburg, a local MMA announcer, was also found at the scene. Sadly, he was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital in south Florida.
Samman, who aside from fighting was involved with MMA promoting and even journalism, was a competitor on season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter. He won three fights during his stint on the reality show, before losing to the eventual winner, Kelvin Gastelum, at the semi-final stage.
In his UFC debut, at the subsequent Finale event for that season, Samman scored an impressive second-round TKO victory over Kevin Casey. Two more wins, both finishes, were to follow. However, his last two trips to the octagon ended in defeats to Tamdan McCrory and, most recently, Tim Boetsch.
According to MMAFighting, the 28-year-old was expected to face Oluwale Bambose later in the year.
Sky Rudloe, the owner of a gym that the fighter trains at, spoke about Samman and Kirkingburg’s impact on the local MMA community in Florida, as well as the shock being felt within that community since the news broke.
“There are so many people in town here who were inspired to get into this sport because of Josh,” Rudloe told the Democrat.
“We are just sitting here with held breath hoping for the best and praying. It kind of hit us all right in the teeth,” he added. “There’s not enough good stuff to say about the both of them.”
“He (Samman) is a tough guy, he fights through things. We are all hoping he comes through.”