The tragic passing of former UFC light-heavyweight Ryan Jimmo took the MMA universe by surprise when the news began to filter through on Sunday morning.
The 34-year-old karateka was struck in a hit-and-run in the parking lot of the H20 Lounge in Alberta Canada, and the crime is being treated as a homicide according to various reports.
UFC lightweight Mitch Clarke shared a room with the charismatic Canadian for eight months when he first joined the Hayabusa Fight Team in Edmonton, and it is clear how highly he regards Jimmo from the way he spoke about his former teammate.
“It was quite a number of years ago when I first met him,” Clarke remembered. “It was when he had first moved to Edmonton. He had just fought on MFC and then the day after he had won he came down to train in the Hayabusa Training Center, where I was training at the time.
“He really liked it and he moved all of his stuff up here a couple of weeks after that. He moved in with my buddy Cam and me at the time. We were roommates for eight months or so after he came over.
“Jimmo was a really good guy. He was a little quirky, a little bit weird, but that’s what made him Jimmo. I can’t say he was a bad guy in anyway. He was always trying to make everybody laugh and smile.”
Appearances can be quite deceiving, and Jimmo was certainly proof of that. In what is now an infamous moment captured in the Octagon, Jimmo endeared himself to the international fan base when he launched into a technically sound robot dance after tying the UFC’s fastest knockout record in his promotional debut.
Those who spent a lot of time with Jimmo knew that he could cut a rug, and as Clarke explained, a lot of shoppers in Edmonton’s Best Buy probably did too after his first visit to the store.
“One story I always remember is from when he first moved up. We took him to a Best Buy. I was off looking to buy a movie or something, and he was there so he could get himself a new phone.
“We were all doing whatever we were doing in the store, and I looked off into the corner and I see Jimmo doing his signature robot dance by himself. I don’t even think anyone was watching him. I don’t even think he was doing it so people would look over at him.
“It was just one of them uniquely Jimmo moments. That was the best thing about him. He wanted to be himself and he wasn’t afraid to be himself. That’s a message that a lot of us can take home. Be you, and be happy being you.
“What happened is awful and I really hope they find the person that did it. Whatever happens, the world is a much worse place without Jimmo in it.”
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With a crucial contest on the horizon for Clarke, a meeting with Ireland’s Joseph Duffy on July 7, 'Danger Zone' told us that mourning his fallen teammate would have to wait until after the contest is said and done. Having moved to Jackson-Winkeljohn six weeks ago, ‘Danger Zone’ believes he is primed for one of his best showings to date.
“We had been talking about a camp change for quite a while. I think I needed to be a bit more selfish at this stage of my career. The staff at Jackson’s is amazing. They have their head coaches and their assistant coaches so you’re able to get full coaching attention all the time.
“The training partners are great. It’s not everywhere in the world that you get rounds with the likes of Anthony Pettis and Diego Sanchez. That’s just a couple of the guys that are there at the moment.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to rub shoulders with all of these great people. Iron does sharpen iron, and I really feel like I will be putting my best foot forward the next time I get in there.”
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