Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight, Brian Gassaway, who also competed for World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Bellator MMA, among countless other regional and international fight promotions, passed away on Monday at the age of 49.
A cause of death has yet to be revealed.
“It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear friend, teacher, and mentor, Brian Gassaway,” a GoFundMe organizer wrote to help raise money for funeral expenses. “Very few people have the courage to follow their dreams. Brian was one of them. 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.”
Gassaway (29-20-2, 1 NC) made his one and only Octagon appearance at UFC 54: “Boiling Point” back in summer 2005, losing to then-undefeated rising star Diego Sanchez by way of second round technical knockout.
“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.
“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. 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.”
Gassaway is survived by his wife and son.