Renowned mixed martial arts trainer Shawn Tompkins, of Tillsonburg, Ont., has passed away at the age of 37. The cause of death has yet to be determined, but the news comes as a shock to the MMA community.
Tompkins, who was staying with a friend in Hamilton, Ont. was found in bed Sunday morning. News of his death broke during the UFC on Versus 5 preliminary card Sunday night when Tompkins’ friend Mike Straka tweeted, “Guys, it is with great sadness that I report the passing of our great friend & trainer Shawn Tompkins. Details developing. Autopsy pending.”
Tompkins’ wife Emilie confirmed the news Sunday night. “Unfortunately I’m in Las Vegas and he’s in Canada,” she said in an interview with ESPN. “I’m hearing through my family and his family that he didn’t wake up this morning. They’re going to do an autopsy tomorrow, so we don’t know any of the actual details. But from what we do know, he passed away in his sleep.”
“The Coach” as he was known, is famous for being the longtime trainer, friend and mentor of Ontario fighters Mark Hominick, Chris Horodecki and Sam Stout, who was also Tompkins’ brother-in-law (Emilie is Stout’s sister). Team Tompkins was viewed as more of a family than a fight team. Famous for his positive attitude and class, he was endlessly proud of Hominick, Stout and Horodecki.
A former fighter himself, Tompkins was considered one of the best trainers in MMA and arguably the best striking coach in the business. He helped train the likes of MMA superstars Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson and Wanderlei Silva, among countless others. Tompkins coached at Xtreme Couture before he moved to the Tapout Training Centre in Las Vegas in 2009. However, he always called Canada home. “Shawn was a mentor and coach to many of us in the MMA world,” Couture tweeted. “He will be sorely missed!!!”
- CLICK HERE to read a biography of Tompkins’ combat sports career.
- For more MMA news and updates follow @MikeyJ_MMA on Twitter.
Many in the MMA community voiced their thoughts on Twitter as they learned of the news. Here is a sample of some tweets by those who knew Shawn (excuse spelling errors and abbreviations)…
MikeyJ_MMA – “Shawn Tompkins has passed away. What a sad day for the MMA community. One of the best trainers in the sport’s history… Every time I spoke with Shawn Tompkins he was a gentleman. Condolences to Mark Hominick, Sam Stout, Chris Horodecki & of course his family.”
UFC Canada – “Our thoughts and prayers are with Shawn Tompkins, his family and Team Tompkins. Sincere condolences – you will be missed.”
Bas Rutten – “This is a really sad day Shawn Tompkins was one of my best friends, he passed way too early leaving his beautiful wife Emily, family and… friends behind. He’s gonna be missed. He texted me yesterday evening telling me he loved me, so, thank God, I called him to tell him it was… mutual. Godspeed my friend, i’m gonna miss you a lot!”
Joe Rogan – “RIP ShawnTomkins a great guy and an amazing trainer. You will be missed.”
Duke Roufus – “RIP Shawn Tompkins We trained, traveled together, coached with & against each other & played together. I’m gonna Miss U You Crazy Canadian!”
Chuck Liddell – “Sad to hear the news about Shawn Tompkins. My condolences to his family. He was a great guy and coach.”
Jeff Joslin – “RIP Shawn Tompkins. A Canadian MMA’er who accomplished countless great things in the sport. Always came with a smile and kind words. You’ll be missed bro!”
Joseph Benevidez – “sad n shocked to hear bout the passing of Coach Tompkins. I jus recently started working with him in Vegas. He’s a great trainer n person.”
Danny Castillo – “In reality my loss doesn’t mean shit. MMA lost a great man. RIP Shawn Tompkins! I trained wt him a few times. He was an awesome man!”
Tyson Griffin – “Just heard about Shawn Tompkins passing. Hope everyone will think & or pray for his wife, family & friends. I know I am. Much love!!!”
Gareth A. Davies – “Very very sad to learn of the passing of Shawn Tompkins…that is terrible news. A top man.”