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Wednesday, 10/24/2012, 04:20 pm

Remembering A Pioneer: Jeff Blatnick Passes At 55 Years Old | UFC NEWS

Remembering Olympic Gold Medalist and MMA Pioneer Jeff Blatnick

The MMA world lost an icon today. Jeff Blatnick — former UFC commentator, MMA judge and referee — died earlier today of complications from open-heart surgery, according to multiple sources. He was 55 years old.

To many fans, Blatnick will be remembered as a pioneer of MMA’s early days, lending credibility to a sport that was fledgling at the time. He worked as a broadcast analyst and advisor in the UFC from 1994 to 2001, even helping develop the modern unified rules used in the sport today. Blatnick was an advocate for legalizing mixed martial arts competition throughout the U.S. He worked as a judge in Bellator as recently as last month.

Blatnick was a gifted wrestler who won Olympic gold in men’s Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic games as a super heavyweight. He may very well have taken gold at the 1980 Olympic games in Moscow as well, had the United States not boycotted the event in protest of the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

Blatnick was also a cancer survivor who overcame Hodgkin’s Disease. He channeled his experiences wrestling and battling cancer into motivational speaking presentations he gave throughout his native New York and elsewhere, spreading a message of overcoming adversity. Blatnick’s hometown of Niskayuna, New York, even named a park in his honor, “Jeff Blatnick Park.”

Though many young fighters and MMA fans today might not be familiar with Blatnick, he was truly a class act and elder statesman of the sport. Every fighter who steps inside a cage and every fan who watches an MMA event is, in many ways, celebrating Blatnick’s legacy and accomplishments. He will truly be missed.


7 Responses to “Remembering A Pioneer: Jeff Blatnick Passes At 55 Years Old | UFC NEWS”

  1. stephen riddle says:

    Damn rip. He was a good commentator i havent heard anything about him in a long time, only 55 thats to young to go rip.

  2. GET RID OF FITCH (forever) says:

    Blatnick will be most remembered as the man who (PURPOSELY) left out the COLLEGE and OLYMPIC “STALLING” rule” out of MMA unified rules. Blatnick did it on purpose to make sure wrestlers would always have the advantage. I guess you could say Blatnick is the GRANDFATHER OF LAY N PRAY IE: FITCHING.

    There were boxing rules that were left out of the unified MMA rules to that still are still needed. First one that comes to mind is in boxing if you turn your back on your opponent and runaway then you are DQ’d. WE saw Condit do this at least 10-times in Diaz fight. We saw Edgar do it at least 6-10 times in 2nd Maynard fight after he was knocked down 6 times in one round. We have seen countless fighters do it since Kalib Starnes made it famous in Nate Quarry fight.

    • Lmao says:

      Shut the hell up who has complaints when someone passes you heartless dick. That’s like someone saying oh yeah your mother will be most remembered by her slutty activity. Fuckin prick

      • GET RID OF FITCH (forever) says:

        Everyone knew Fitches job was on gthe line and he had one foot out the door. besides he still only won by “FITCHING” and he was almost submitted. Fitch will be back to being Fitch in his in his next fight mark my words. As far as Blatnick goes he was the one that wrote the “wrestling” side of rules that were used in MMA and it is 100% TRUE that he knew by leaving the “STALLING” rule that is used in college and all other international wrestling as wella s the Olympics that wrestlers would have a HUGE advantage and now we fans are stuck with “FITCHING” FOREVER


  3. fedgar_fan says:

    I wish more fights were like Fitch’s fights, esepecially the last one.

    Anyhow, Blatnick did a whole lot to get MMA legalized and regulated. That did save the sport from PPV censorship and arguably the corruption that was rampant in the Japanese scene. It may not look like a huge deal now, but remember that these were happening when groin shots were legal and UFC was a spectacle. He helped immensely in turning it into a spot.

    Oh, Condit won that fight BTW. U mad?

    • GET RID OF FITCH (forever) says:

      Actually I was a huge Condit fan and wanted to see Diaz lose until I saw how much of a coward Condit was. Condit made mea Diaz fan. Also every MMA fighter polled said Diaz won that fight. All Condit did was land SISSY kicks and runa way so all you IDIOTS think those stupid a’ss skewed compubox numbers actually made Condit winner. Diaz would beat Condit everytime in aREAL fight without corrupt judges.

  4. Xaninho says:


    That’s way too young to go. He did a lot of good for the sport. I do have to agree on what get rid of fitch said about the stalling rule though. maybe the Athletic commissions can repair the unified rules of mma by adding that rule?

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