Veteran mixed martial artist Sherman Pendergarst passed away Friday morning at the age of 45 after a battle with rectal and colon cancer. confirmed the news with Pendergarst's coach and friend Pat Miletich, who verified that the fighter passed at Genesis Medical Center in Davenport, Iowa, at 8 a.m. local time.

Pendergarst began his mixed martial arts career in 2005, competing 11 times in 18 months before making his lone Octagon appearance against hard-hitting kickboxer Antoni Hardonk at UFC 65. Prior to making the drop to light heavyweight late in his career, Pendergarst also competed for the Bellator Fighting Championships, falling to future UFC staple Joey Beltran at Bellator 5.

Though Pendergarst's career mark stands at just 11-18, the Baltimore native faced some of the sport's better known competitors, including Razak Al-Hassan, Houston Alexander, Abe Wagner, Tim Hague, Justin Eilers and Shane Carwin. After spending roughly 21 months on the sideline while undergoing treatment, Pendergarst returned to competition on Feb. 18 in what would be his final bout, fighting Bruce Nelson to a no-contest in Fargo, N.D.

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