The initial reports were murky but indicated that on Friday morning, a man was found dead in a Florida apartment and that his friend and roommate, UFC middleweight Josh Samman, was also found on the scene, and was hospitalized in critical condition. The deceased friend was Florida-based MMA announcer Troy Kirkingburg.
Now ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ castmate, Bellator MMA welterweight Gilbert Jamal Smith is reporting that Samman has passed away. The news was reported by TMZ, which has an uneven record in MMA deaths.
This report is not definitive, but coming after a several-days-long coma, it would not be entirely unexpected. This has been a sad year for MMA with Kimbo Slice, Kevin Randleman, Ryan Jimmo, Jordan Parsons, João Carvalho all dying far too soon.
Samman, 28, began fighting professionally in 2007 and earned a 9-2 record before becoming a cast member of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen in 2013. He went 3-1 in the series, losing only to Kelvin Gastelum.
He was given a UFC contract and began on an extremely promising 3-0 streak. However, Samman struggled in the past year, losing to Tamdan McCrory via submission, and to Tim Boetsch via strikes.
he had just signed to fight Oluwale Bamgbose at UFC Fight Night 102 on December 9 at Times Union Center in Albany, New York.
Samman was highly talented, running the successful MMA Combat Night amateur promotion, and holding down regular writing gigs for BloodyElbow, UFC.com, and FloCombat.
He had also been visited by tragedy, including a youth spent in and out of institutions. On August 30, 2013, his girlfriend Hailey Bevis died in a car accident while the two were texting each other. He chronicled Bevis’s death, as well as his struggles with addiction, and career-threatening injuries in the memoir The Housekeeper: Love, Death, and Prizefighting.
There have been conflicting reports about the cause of death. There will undoubtedly be clarity in time. At present, our heart and thoughts go out to Samman’s friends, teammates, and family.