The story has been bubbling all day. It started last night on the UG with this post by by Reggie Warren Sr:
Greg Wilson of Newport BJJ Academy just called to give me the terrible news
BJJ Black Belt and UFC, Pride, K-1, Shoot Box, and WFA veteran Kimo Leopaldo died from complications from a heart attack earlier tonight at St Fancis Hospital in Costa Rica
He was 41 years old and a good friend and instructor to Greg.
All day I held off reporting since all we had was rumor and unconfirmed speculation.
Kevin Iole was working on the story and tweeting his findings:
Just spoke to Kimo's publicist. He was NOT in Costa Rica last night. Was in Orange County and alive at 11. No one has heard from him today
CBS Sports MMA writer Denny Burkholder was also on the case and tweeting:
Regarding Kimo: Orange County Sherriff Dept. knew nothing about it as of 45 mins. ago, other than knowing his name from prior incidents.
Just spoke to Irvine (Calif.) police re: Kimo. They can't confirm either, other than being sure that if it's true, "it didn't happen here."
When uber-gossip site TMZ.com reported, I nearly broke down -- they got the Michael Jackson scoop correct after all. Here's their report:
TMZ has confirmed former UFC superstar Kimo Leopoldo is dead. He was 41.
Several MMA websites are reporting Leopoldo died from a heart attack ... we're still trying to confirm that fact.
But now MMA journalist Kevin Iole is tweeting that Kimo is in fact, not dead:
Kimo Leopoldo is NOT DEAD, I've been told by his attorney. More details to folo.
UPDATE: More from Iole's twitter feed:
From what I've been told, and this is not finalized, Kimo will hold a conference call tomorrow.
Also, from Kimo's publicist, apparently he was sleeping and woke up to learn of reports of his death.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, Kimo's alive.
Iole posts his story:
Veteran mixed martial arts fighter Kimo Leopoldo, who made his debut at UFC 3, is still very much alive despite numerous reports to the contrary.
Leopoldo’s attorney, Victor E. Hobbs, said “Kimo has surfaced and that’s all I know right now.” He referred all questions to Leopoldo’s manager, Ron Kort. Kort’s voice mail box was full and could not accept messages.
A happy ending to a silly story.