Josh Samman: The man beyond the Octagon
Josh Samman managed to live an extraordinary life despite his relatively short 28 years here, becoming a widely recognized UFC fighter and best-selling author without ever reaching his 30th birthday.
Although Samman enjoyed massive successes as a prize-fighter and writer, he endured as much tragedy as he did triumph.
The world was first introduced to Josh Samman back in Jamuary of 2013, when it was announced that Josh would be a contestant on season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter. Samman showed much promise during tryouts, and was ultimately picked second by coach Jon Jones. The Florida native followed up on that show of promise, knocking out his first two opponents in a blaze of violent fury to the semi-finals, where he faced the much-unheralded Kelvin Gastelum in an exhibition match that many expected Samman to win.
In spite of the submission loss to Gastelum which eliminated him from the shows tournament-style format, Samman was still offered a fight on the seasons finale against fellow castmate Kevin Casey. Samman made good on the opportunity, and put Casey away with strikes in the second round.
Josh Samman had made his way to the UFC, and from there his life went off the rails, so to speak.
Josh’s girlfriend, Hailey Bevis, tragically died in a car accident, just four months removed from his successful UFC debut. Her loss had a profound effect on the then 25-year-old fighter.
Through out all of the tragedy, Samman managed to score the biggest win of his career after landing a picture-perfect headkick on Eddie Gordon at UFC 181 in 2014. The knockout earned Josh a performance of the night award, and once again his life seemed to be on the upswing.
In an effort to provide some catharsis in dealing with his girlfriend’s passing, Samman penned a memoir titled The Housekeeper: Love, Death, and Prizefighting. In the book, Josh revealed he had battled addiction before making it to the UFC, while also expressing the significance of Hailey’s death in his life:
“It was the axis,” he wrote, “on which my whole life changed, and I knew only that things would never be the same.”
Perhaps the dramatic experiences in his adult life eventually caught up to Samman, and no one could truly blame him. After a disappointing two-fight skid against Tamdan McCrory and Tim Boestch, Josh never got a chance to right the ship and get his career back on track. In yet another tragic twist in Samman’s life, Josh was found unresponsive in a Florida apartment on September 30 with his friend who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Josh was in a coma until today, when it was announced he had passed away as well.
At the time of his death, Josh had signed a bout agreement and was training for a fight, but he never made it to the Octagon.
However, to borrow from a well-worn out line; Josh lived the life of several men. He did what he loved in spite of the losses and tragedies he experienced both inside and outside of the cage.
What is your most memorable moment of Josh Samman’s UFC career? Sound off, PENN Nation!