Taylor Wily, UFC 1 Fighter and ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ Actor, Dead at 56

Wily passed away on Thursday due to undisclosed causes

Taylor Wily
Courtesy of @People on X

Taylor Wily, a one-time UFC competitor who went on to achieve a successful career in acting, has passed away. 

According to a report from KITV’s Island News in Hawaii, Wily, who competed inside the Octagon under the name Teila Tuli, died of undisclosed causes on Thursday, he was 56. 

Wily’s lone appearance in mixed martial arts was an undeniably memorable one as he was one of the two men to compete in the first-ever quarterfinal tournament bout in UFC history. Squaring off with Gerard Gordeau at UFC 1 in November 1993, the 410-pound sumo suffered a brutal 26-second knockout after Gordeau kicked him in the head so hard it knocked out three of his teeth—two of which were left stuck in Gordeau’s foot. 

Gordeau also broke his hand during the brief encounter after landing a punch on Wily. 

Though it was technically not the first UFC fight—that being an untelevised alternate bout between Jason DeLucia and Trent Jenkins—Wily vs. Gordeau is the first fight broadcast in UFC history as well as the first knockout.

Wily never fought again after that night, choosing to transfer his skills from the cage to the screen. 

Taylor Wily Established Himself as a Fan Favorite in Both Film and Series

The beloved Hawaiian appeared in more than 170 episodes of the rebooted Hawaii Five-0 series as Kamekona, a comic-relief character that quickly became a series favorite among fans of the show. He also appeared in another series reboot, Magnum P.I.

However, it was his small, but memorable role in the 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall starring Jason Segel, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Russell Brand that endeared him to moviegoers.

“I am devastated. Heartbroken. I’ll post some detailed feelings later. Just too hard right now,” Hawaii Five-0 executive producer Peter M. Lenkov wrote, alongside a picture with Wily on Instagram.

Lenkov followed it with another post of a photo montage adding: “T, as I told you many times, I fell in love with you at the first audition. You came in with a towel on your head mopping up sweat, and I was smitten. You charmed me into making you a regular… on the show… and in my life.”

“You were family,” Lenkov continued. “And I will miss you every day, brother. PS: when we spoke last week, we laughed at how right you were from Day 1. ‘Five-0’ was our dream job. And I was so lucky we got to share that magic together.”

Wily was born Teila Tuli on June 14, 1968, in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is survived by his wife Halona and their two children.

Published on June 21, 2024 at 1:25 pm
Stay up-to-date with the latest MMA news, rumors, and updates by following the RED Monster on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Also, don't forget to add MiddleEasy to your Google News feed Follow us on Google News for even more coverage.


Leave a Comment