Today the sad news was reported that UFC middleweight Josh Samman has passed away at the young age of 28. Samman was found unconscious alongside his longtime friend, Troy Kirkingburg, who sadly was pronounced dead at the scene. After spending five days in a coma, Samman passed away and the devastating news was revealed earlier today by his longtime friend and The Ultimate Fighter castmate Gilbert Jamal Smith.
Inside the Octagon Samman was a formidable opponent. Following his rise through local promotions and a brief stint in Bellator, Samman joined the cast of The Ultimate Fighter 17, and subsequently the UFC. As tribute, we offer some of Samman's greatest MMA moments.
The Ultimate Fighter
Winning his preliminary fight against Leo Bercier via TKO in the first round, Samman, was selected second by coach Jon Jones, and looked set to dominate the reality TV show. Samman went on to defeat Tor Troéng by knockout in the first round, and Jimmy Quinlan via submission in the first frame of the quarterfinals, before falling short to eventual winner Kelvin Gastelum in the semifinals.
Samman would make his official UFC debut on April 9, 2013, taking on fellow season-17 alumnus Kevin Casey. Samman won the fight via TKO in the second round.
Josh Samman vs. Eddie Gordon
After the disappointment of missing two UFC fights due to injury, Samman returned to the Octagon in style. In what is widely considered as one of the best knockouts of 2014, the Orlando native took on Eddie Gordon on December 6, 2014 at UFC 181. Although losing the first round, Samman earned the Performance of the Night bonus with a vicious head-kick knockout.
Josh Samman vs. Caio Magalhães
Samman's next UFC outing was equally explosive. Taking on Caio Magalhães at The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale, Samman earned yet another Performance of the Night bonus. Samman put on a confident display, dispatching his opponent in the first round via rear naked choke. Samman also gained the respect of the industry when he failed to react to Magalhães poor show of sportsmanship, after the Brazilian spit blood at Samman following the bout.
The Housekeeper: Love, Death, and Prizefighting
Outside of the Octagon Josh Samman was just as talented. Life had never been easy for the Orlando native, battling addiction and career threatening injuries. Samman also had to cope with the death of his girlfriend in 2013. The death of his lover caused Samman a lot of grief, and even more so, he blamed himself for her single-car crash. What followed was a deep depression.
In April 2016, Samman released his book The Housekeeper: Love, Death, and Prizefighting, largely in dedication to his late girlfriend. Not ghostwritten like many books inside the same genre, the book was a form of therapy for the middleweight fighter and one of his biggest achievements in life.
Combat Night / Ubersmash
Alongside his authorial talent outside the cage, Josh Samman was also an astute businessman. In 2009, alongside friends and business partners, Samman set up and promoted a new mixed martial arts event in Tallahasse, Florida, dubbed Ubersmash. The card was stacked with local talent and was a great success for the team.
Following the legislation passed in Florida allowing the creation of amateur MMA sanctioning bodies, Samman, along with his team, created amateur promotion Combat Night. Since its inception, the promotion has expanded to Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami to become the largest MMA organization in the state.
On September 26, 2015, the MMA promotion celebrated its 50th card, drawing 4,000 fans.
Since news of the fighters passing has broke, social media has become awash with outpourings of tributes for the beloved fighter.
It's been a sad year for the MMA community, with Kimbo Slice, Kevin Randleman, Ryan Jimmo, Jordan Parsons, Joao Carvalho, and now Josh Samman all sadly passing away. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Josh Samman. The cause of death is still unknown at time of publishing.