Early UFC star Emmanuel Yarborough passes away at 51
MMA Junkie – Emmanuel Yarborough, the massive sumo wrestler who famously took on karate expert Keith Hackney at UFC 3, died Monday at the age of 51.
The promotion announced the former fighter’s death Tuesday after a post on the popular Underground forum from retired MMA fighter Gary Myers. UFC co-creator Art Davie also confirmed Yarborough’s passing on his official Facebook page.
Yarborough passed away in Richmond, Va.; the cause of death was not disclosed. In a statement from his longtime manager, Beatrice H. Davis, said he traveled the world to bring awareness to the issue of obesity.
“Even though it was not an easy task for him, it never stopped him from following his dreams, and bringing smiles to the faces of all he would meet,” she told UFC.com. “He was to be the subject of a new reality show, and would have continued to bring smiles to all those who had the opportunity to be blessed by his infectious, compassionate, loving presence. He will be missed by his millions of fans around the world, friends and family.”
This is pretty sad news. I remember watching Emmanuel Yarborough fight at UFC 3. It was nothing I had ever seen before. We had this massive athlete taking on a guy less than half his size. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the television. I was hooked on the UFC after the I saw the first fight, but this brought it up a notch. I didn’t know what was coming next. I was a kid so I was just watching to see men punch each other in the face (I still watch MMA for that reason). Emmanuel brought hype to the UFC just because of his size. If a guy that big got his hands on you it would be lights out. He would crush you like he crushed a buffet. Obviously, it must have been hard to be that size and live a normal life. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.