Brian Gassaway, a veteran mixed martial arts fighter who competed in UFC, died this week. He was 49 years old. The cause of death was not revealed, but a GoFundMe page was launched to help the family with funeral expenses. As of Tuesday morning, over $14,000 has been raised.
"Very few people have the courage to follow their dreams. Brian was one of them," the GoFundMe page states. "He tested himself all over the world against some of the best fighters on the planet having competed in the UFC, Bellator, WEC, King of the Cage, Iron Heart Crown, Shooto and Pancrase. Brian had his hand raised 29 times but walked out of the ring a better man after every single contest. In 2018, Brian was inducted into the Illinois Martial Arts Hall of Fame. And, announced just yesterday, in honor of Brian's contribution to the art of Muay Thai in America, the Thai Boxing Association-Sanctioning Authority has created the Brian Gassaway Award."
Gassaway competed in UFC 54 in 2005 and lost to Diego Sanchez via TKO in the second round. In between the UFC fight, Gassaway took part in two WEC fights — a no-contest against Ross Ebanzez and a loss to John Alessio, as mentioned by MMA Junkie. Overall, Gassaway posted a 29-20-2 record. His last match was in 2010 when he lost to Shungo Oyama at MC: Martial Combat 10. He then retired from MMA competition to focus on coaching.
"With more than 50 professional MMA fights and countless kickboxing and Muay Thai competitions, Brian was one of the most experienced fighters and coaches in the world," the GoFundMe page reads. "It is as a coach where he truly excelled. Brian's selfless pursuit of improving the lives of his students through the study of martial arts was apparent to all. He gave his students purpose, pulling many up during their darkest moments. Being the light that showed them the path forward.
"...Brian leaves behind his wife and best friend, Mimi, mother, brother, Wesley and son, Rashad. Brian, our friend, our teacher, you will not be forgotten. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with us. Because of you, we are stronger; we are braver; we are better people. I hope you knew how much you meant to us."