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Despite recent reports, UFC veteran Kim "Kimo" Leopoldo is not dead

    Tue, 2009-07-21 17:35 — chernobyl kid

    Despite a rash of reports stating that veteran MMA fighter Kim "Kimo" Leopoldo, the 41-year-old fighter is alive and well.

    Reports of the supposed death, which were posted on numerous MMA blogs and even mainstream media outlets such as the Orange Country Register and the New York Daily News on Tuesday, were sparked by a forum posting on The Underground, a popular MMA-themed message board on

    A member of the popular forum stated that Leopoldo had died on Monday due to "complications from a heart attack" while in Costa Rica. The claims, of course, proved unfounded.

    The fighter's publicist, Bob Trieger, stated that Leopoldo is, in fact, alive. His confirmation comes shortly after Leopoldo's attorney, Victor E. Hobbs, told Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole the same.

    No other details were immediately available.

    Leopoldo made his MMA debut 15 years ago at UFC 3 and became the first man to truly challenge the seemingly invincible Royce Gracie. Gracie, in fact, was so fatigued from the fight that he was unable to continue in the night's tournament and to be helped out of the ring by family members.

    Leopoldo won six of his next seven bouts fighting primarily for the UFC and PRIDE. He last fought in October 2006, when he suffered a first-round TKO loss to Wes Sims at an Extreme Wars show. Leopoldo, who sometimes carried a large Christian cross to the cage, concluded his career with a 10-7-1 mark, which included a 2-5 record in the UFC.

    During his career, Leopoldo failed drug tests due to performance-enhancing drugs and banned stimulants. Earlier this year, he launched an unsuccessful bid to become the executive officer of the California State Athletic Commission to "end corruption" in the regulatory body. However, he was arrested just a few weeks later on possession of marijuana (though charges for possession of methamphetamine and possession of stolen property were later dropped) and was sentenced earlier this week to community service and a drug rehabilitation program.

    KibunInc's picture

    Today I spoke with some fighters I know who hung out with Kimo. They said they called his family and that the family said Kimo had died. I guess only time will tell. :confused:

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    chernobyl kid's picture

    A day after proving wrong reports of his death, MMA veteran Kim "Kimo" Leopoldo and his representatives are considering legal action against the person who first posted the false news, the fighter's manager today told Radio (

    On Tuesday a member of a popular online MMA forum made a post in which he stated the 41-year-old Leopoldo had died due to complications from a heart attack while in Costa Rica.

    Numerous MMA blogs and mainstream outlets such as TMZ and the New York Daily News issued reports with the bogus information before Leopoldo appeared later in the day at a press conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Department in California to debunk the rumors.

    Brandt Stebbins, Leopoldo's manager, denied that anyone associated with the fighter was part of the initial report.

    "Plain and simple, you can go to and see all the posts," Stebbins said. "You can see the posts from the original people and the original guy who started it. That gentleman was banned (from the site). We're trying to summons his name so we can sue him. We're not taking this lightly."

    Stebbins did not clarify under what pretense the forum member would be sued, though the camp would likely need to prove he or she knowingly posted incorrect information.

    Despite the fact that it took nearly a full day to track down Leopoldo – who said he was sleeping and awoke to nearly 100 voicemails – Stebbins is adamant that the situation wasn't a marketing ploy or gimmick to get "Kimo's" name back in the media.

    "We have nothing to hide," Stebbins said. "We can point anyone to where this started.

    "Those posts did not come from anyone in our camp."

    Once Stebbins heard the rumors of his client's death, he said he and other people close to Leopoldo couldn't initially track him down. They called the sheriff's department, fire department, coroner and other authorities trying to glean any bit of information about Leopoldo's whereabouts.

    That's why Stebbins said he was hesitant to publicly confirm that Leopoldo, who was actually home asleep in California, was alive and well in the few hours before the press conference was held.

    "I didn't get to see Kimo face to face till 3:30 or 4 (p.m. PT)," Stebbins said. "I didn't want to say, 'Yes, Kimo is alive,' until I physically saw Kimo face to face. ... It's impossible to know who to trust. ... Personally, I wasn't going to say he was alive until I saw him in person and knew for myself."

    Ultimately, the announcement was made Tuesday evening at a press conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Stebbins said the department fielded approximately 200 calls from media members and fans, and they wanted official word to come from the department to assure everyone that Leopoldo was alive.

    Leopoldo ultimately addressed the media for approximately five minutes and said he was as surprised as anyone to hear the reports.

    "[Kimo] said the first thing he did was stand up and look in the mirror to make sure he was really alive," Stebbins said. "His poor son was calling from Hawaii and was ready to get on a plane. He was totally distraught.

    "That's the real problem with stuff like this."

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