UFC middleweight Josh Samman has died at the age of 28 after spending nearly a week in a coma at a Florida hospital, officials have confirmed.
Samman was found unresponsive in his apartment last Thursday by a friend, who discovered the fighter alongside his roommate Troy Kirkingburg and immediately called 911. In a statement, police said they responded to the “call of a possible drug overdose”.
Kirkingburg, 28, was found dead when authorities arrived. Samman was taken to the hospital, where he had remained in a coma since. No foul play was suspected, but officials are determining the exact cause of death.
Samman, from Iowa, had documented his struggle with substance abuse in a 2013 memoir titled The Housekeeper: Love, Death and Prize Fighting. A statement from his mother released to Fox Sports on Monday, however, denied rumours that he had taken heroin.
“In spite of speculation, there was no heroin found in Josh’s system whatsoever,” the statement read. “No matter what people are posting on social media. 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 want them to never give up.”
Samman joined the UFC roster in 2013 after amassing a 9-2 record in lower competitions. He won his first three fights, bringing home Performance of the Night bonuses for stoppage wins over Eddie Gordon and Caio Magalhães. But consecutive losses to Tamdan McCrory and Tim Boetsch had seen him dip to No31 in the organization’s middleweight rankings.
Samman was scheduled to face Oluwale Bamgbose at UFC Fight Night 102 on 9 December in Albany, New York.