At the age of 28, UFC middleweight fighter Josh Samman reportedly died on Wednesday of an apparent drug overdose. Samman’s death was announced almost a week after he was admitted to a Hollywood, South Florida, hospital where he spent his last days in a coma.
The chief medical examiner for Broward County, Dr. Craig Mallak, reported that Josh Samman had been hospitalized for the past five days and before he was declared dead on Wednesday morning at a hospice. He had spent the last two days in the hospital as a brain-dead patient and Mallak said that the results of the toxicology tests they ran when he was brought had been completed and indicated that the cause of death was a probable drug overdose.
Josh Samman had forged his UFC career after making it through a difficult childhood, and even as news of his supposed overdose had spread his mother had taken to social media to deny reports that any heroin had been found in the fighter’s system. Nonetheless, it was argued that the signs pointed to drug use, and according to the Orlando Sentinel, the Hollywood Police Department said that the call they received to go to Samman’s Hollywood Beach residence last Thursday required them to respond to “a call of a possible drug overdose.”
When the UFC fighter was discovered in his apartment by a friend the previous Thursday, he was not alone, but police say his friend and roommate, 28-year-old Troy Kirkingburg, was found dead at the scene. The friend who found the men said CPR was attempted on Samman after a 911 call was made but when the authorities arrived Josh was still unresponsive. Police do not believe that foul play was involved in the deaths.
While Josh Samman was born in Kissimmee, Florida, he grew up in Tallahassee and has always remained proud of his Florida roots, even using it as part of his brand and selling shirts which read “A Boy From Tally.” Samman’s professional MMA career began in 2007 and he began an upward trend which saw him eventually snag a spot on UFC promotional reality competition show The Ultimate Fighter in 2013. He made it to the tournament semi-finals before losing to the season’s champion fighter Kelvin Gastelum. He then went on to win his first three UFC fights.
Josh Samman was also the co-founder and CEO of one of the largest independent fighting promotions in the state, known as Combat Night, and he regularly ran shows at the Tier Nightclub in Orlando. His UFC success also translated well to a career as a writer, and his memoir, The Housekeeper: Love, Death and Prizefighting, was published earlier this year. The book detailed the athlete’s struggle with drug abuse as well as the tragic 2013 death of his girlfriend in a car accident.
The UFC fighter has been very vocal about his past and his addiction to substances from the painkillers he took as a teenager to the harder drugs he did later in life. He also wrote of how an injury in 2014 kept him from a UFC Orlando fight and he turned once more to painkillers and harder drugs. Samman eventually recovered and became a regular blogger for Bloody Elbow and the UFC website.
Recently, Samman began to split his time between his place in Tallahassee and South Florida, where he was training with MMA Masters.
FOX Sports wrote that Samman’s manager Gary Ibarra issued a statement on Wednesday regarding the death of his client and friend.
“It is with a heavy heart that the family of Joshua Samman, well known professional mixed martial artist, promoter and author have announced his passing this morning at 7:20 a.m. at Regional Memorial Hospital in Hollywood, Florida… The cause of death has yet to be determined pending an autopsy. The family asks that Josh’s privacy be respected and that everyone continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this extremely difficult time.”
[Featured Image by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images]