Mixed martial arts veteran Brian Gassaway has passed away at the age of 49.
The news was announced by his family and friends on Monday with no cause of death for the former welterweight who competed in a number of promotions over a long 52-fight career.
However, a GoFundMe has been launched to help with funeral expenses. Here’s what the GoFundMe organizer Misho Ceko had to say about Gassaway:
“Whether you were training for a fight on the big stage, competing in a smoker in a church basement, or training just to better yourself, Brian showed you the same love, effort, and attention. You always felt safe knowing that he was in the corner. His calmness gave you confidence as he wrapped your hands in preparation to go into battle. His words gave you the knowledge from the experience of the countless wars he fought as you marched to the ring. And his energy gave you strength and courage as the bell rang and you walked into the fire. One thing was certain: You always knew that Brian was fighting right there alongside you. And after the fights were fought, after the fans left the stadium, after the lights went dark, Brain was still there, sitting quietly alongside you.
“Please know that as much as he helped you, you also helped him. You were the reason he lived. You gave him breath. He absorbed and learned from your experience, sharing it with the next student. As students and teachers of martial arts, we are a sum of the students and teachers before us.
“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. We love you, champ.”
Gassaway last competed September 2010 at MC: Martial Combat 10. He suffered a submission defeat to Shungo Oyama which put his MMA record at 29-20-2, 1NC.
Over the course of his 14-year career, the Chicago native competed in a number of promotions from Pancrase, WEC, UFC, KOTC and Bellator to name a few.
His sole appearance at the UFC notably saw him come up against former lightweight title challenger Diego Sanchez at UFC 54 in August 2005. Sanchez would win the contest via TKO.