Joshua Kaleb “Josh” Samman died on Oct. 5 in a hospital in south Florida. The middleweight fighter was 28-years-old.
Samman had been in the hospital since late last week. He entered the hospital after a friend found Samman and his roommate, Troy Kirkingburg, Thursday evening. Kirkingburg, a local MMA promoter, was dead at the scene. Samman was unresponsive, and first responders rushed him to the hospital.
Police ruled out signs of foul play when they investigated the scene. However, local police have since released thoughts of a suspected drug overdose.
Kirkingburg’s cause of death was pending autopsy. The procedure was scheduled for Wednesday; however, the results may see delays in the face of Hurricane Matthew.
Samman’s mother released a statement to the press diffusing online rumors and stating that no tests have showed heroin her son’s system. She also said that Samman remained in a coma and was undergoing tests.
“The reason I am making this statement is because Josh touched so many lives, and loved inspiring others, especially young people. I don’t want them to lose faith in him, and whatever he brought out in them, because of the lies. He would never want them to give up.”
After several days of lying in a coma, Samman entered hospice care in the late hours on Tuesday and passed away on Wednesday.
Samman and his roommate Kirkingburg had deep roots in the local MMA scene. Samman debuted in 2013 during Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter. His record was 3-2 during his time with the organization. Referees declared Samman the winner the first three times he stepped into the Octagon, and he also won the Performance of the Night bonus in his fight against Caio Magalhaes, as well as his fight against Eddie Gordon.
At the time of his passing, he was ranked at No. 31 in the middleweight rankings. He lost his last two fights, one against Tamdan MCrory, and the other against Tim Boetsch. Samman’s next UFC appearance was scheduled for Dec. 9 at the UFC Fight Night event in Albany.
Samman has publically documented his previous struggles against substance abuse. He released a memoir in 2013 called The Housekeeper: Love, Death and Prize Fighting. The book detailed his tumultuous early life, the loss of a girlfriend in a car accident in 2013, and his struggles with heroin.
Samman was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on March 14, 1988. He stated fighting in amateur fights in Tallahassee, Florida, in 2006, and went pro in 2007. He was known by fans as being accessible. The fighter was also known for his writing efforts. In addition to his 2013 memoir, he was also a contributor to BloodyElbow.com, and he was promoted to features writer in 2015. He also wrote columns for UFC.com and in May of this year, he announced that he would begin contributing to flocombat.com.
Well-known in his Florida community and in the UFC scene, the UFC organization released a statement on Wednesday in honor of Samman saying the following.
“The UFC sends its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Josh Samman, who passed away on Oct. 5. He was 28. A popular figure in the mixed martial arts world who was embraced by the community not just for his fighting ability but for his writing and accessibility to fans and his fellow media members, the Tallahassee native was always searching for the next adventure, whether in the Octagon or in life.
“Those that knew him say that they learned a lot from Josh Samman, who made a significant mark in only 28 years on the planet. He will be missed.”
[Featured Image By Alex Trautwig/Getty Images]