Jason David Frank — best known as the green Power Ranger on the original North American run of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers — has died at the age of 49 years old. According to TMZ, the cause of death was suicide.
A statement from his agent read, “Please respect the privacy of his family and friends during this horrible time as we come to terms with the loss of such a wonderful human being. He loved his family, friends and fans very much. He will truly be missed.”
Reports started swirling on the Internet this Sunday morning, which were then confirmed by a message from his trainer and friend, Mike Bronzoulis.
“RIP my brother from another mother Jason David Frank,” Bronzoulis wrote. “I’m still in shock. I’m feeling terrible, he called left me a message and I took to long. Jason was a good friend to me and I will miss him. Love n prayers for his wife Tammie and their kids, I prey that God gets y’all through this difficult time.”
For many who grew up watching him on television, Frank will always be a Power Ranger. But, Frank’s martial arts passion went far beyond a starring role in that show. He was also am eighth-degree Dan Shotokan Karate black belt, with black belts in Wado-ryu Karate, Taekwondo, and Judo as well. He was a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, too.
In 2010, Frank fought four times in MMA as an amateur, going 4-0 with two knockouts and two submissions over a five month stretch. He then won his sole professional MMA fight via first round submission just one minute into the bout. He was angling to get signed by Strikeforce in hopes of fighting former NFL player-turned political spectacle, Herschel Walker, who fought twice for the promotion in 2010-2011.
“I’d love to get a Strikeforce deal — I want a Strikeforce deal,” he said after his first professional win. “I keep talking about it all the time. I know my manager’s talked to them briefly. It’s just I want to build my record and do it the right way, and let me people know I can go more than one round.”
“I’ve been studying [martial arts] since I was four years old. Yeah, I did the Power Rangers show. That might make Dana [White] snicker, or someone else snicker from another organization, ‘Oh it’s just another guy trying it out.’ This is my life. I live and breathe martial arts my whole entire life ever since I was four years old.”
Unfortunately, a Strikeforce contract never materialized. After a biceps injury pulled him out of his second professional fight, Frank never competed in MMA again. Every so often he would stump for a bout against other novelty fighters like C.M. Punk, but nothing ever came of it. We’ll always have this footage of Frank putting Jean Claude Van Damme in his place, though.
Our condolences go out to Jason’s family and friends following the loss.