Olympic Gold Medalist Wrestler, MMA Pioneer Jeff Blatnick Dead at 55


Jeff Blatnick has died at the age of 55 due to complications from heart surgery.

Albany, N.Y.’s WNYT first brought word of Blatnick’s passing Wednesday afternoon.

Born in Niskayuna, N.Y., Blatnick became a high school wrestling champion and then earned a pair of NCAA Division II wrestling titles while attending Springfield College in Springfield, Mass. Blatnick qualified for the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow but was unable to compete due to the United States’ boycott of the event. Following a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Blatnick went on to capture Olympic gold in Greco-Roman wrestling in 1984.

The New Yorker made his foray into mixed martial arts as a commentator at UFC 4 in 1994 and remained employed in that capacity through 2001. Blatnick then turned his primary focus to the regulation of the sport, drafting the Mixed Martial Arts Council manual and serving as that body’s chair. He also performed duties as a licensed judge in New Jersey and volunteered as a high school wrestling coach in his home state.

“Jeff should be remembered as one of the most important figures in the growth and formation of MMA in this country,” Nick Lembo, counsel to the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, told Sherdog.com. “He was the Chair of the MMAC, a key drafter of the proposed unified rules and an outstanding judge and trainer to new officials. Every fan of MMA owes a debt of gratitude to Jeff Blatnick for how hard he fought for the sport. He was friendly but relentless.

“He was also a dear personal friend and a man of loyalty, integrity and kindness. I will miss him terribly as a friend.”

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

  • 18 days ago
  • 0 views

For those anticipating Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo's UFC debut this weekend, the wait just got a little longer. The UFC announced that Cejudo -- who was slated to face Scott Jorgensen on UFC 1 read news >>

  • 13 days ago
  • 2 views

Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo's MMA career seems to be in freefall. The coach who led him to a wrestling championship at the Beijing games, Terry Brands, weighs in on why Cejudo may be strugglin read news >>

  • 7 days ago
  • 1 views

Former Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo talks about why he was unable to make his Octagon debut at UFC 177. read news >>

  • 21 days ago
  • 16 views

On Saturday Henry Cejudo will become just the third Olympic gold medalist to compete in the UFC, but the undefeated MMA fighter could easily become the most accomplished.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

  • 20 days ago
  • 2 views

For more on T.J. Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao and Saturday’s pay-per-view card, here are 55 pre-fight facts about UFC 177.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

  • 20 days ago
  • 1 views

Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo makes his debut, and fan favorite Lorenz Larkin spice up the undercard for a PPV that desperately needs it at UFC 177. Back to the grind. What are the chances Dana read news >>

  • 18 days ago
  • 1 views

Henry Cejudo is an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling who is scheduled to make his octagon debut Saturday night at UFC 177. His resume is lofty, but according to Cejudo, all those accolades are simpl read news >>

  • 18 days ago
  • 11 views

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – U.S. Olympic gold medal wrestler Henry Cejudo hasn’t burned his bridges with the UFC just yet, but he’s no longer welcome to call himself a flyweight.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

  • 16 days ago
  • 25 views

OSU in the house! After Kenny Monday was relieved of his duties as head wrestling coach for the Blackzilians mixed martial arts (MMA) camp three months ago, the former Olympic gold medalist has lande read news >>

Jump to: