Nick Charles may be a name that doesn't immediately ring many bells for MMA fans, but he was one of the best combat sports commentators ever and one of the most influential sports broadcasters of his time dating back to his spot as CNN's first sports anchor. In 2009 he took a leave of absence from his position working ShoBox events on Showtime after having been diagnosed with stage 4 bladder cancer.
Coming from a rough upbringing himself, Charles identified with many of the troubled personalities he would deal with in boxing. From CNN's piece on Nick's passing:
Charles would cry when he talked about the strength of boxers, because when he looked at the ring, he saw young men like him from the inner city who had to rely on themselves to reach success.
"You have to walk down that alley way to the ring," he said. "You're going to get hit. You have to take pain to get it. You have to fight through fear."
A many about whom few have ever had a negative word to say, Charles inspired many as he battled for two years against an aggressive illness.
In remembering Nick, I'll turn once more to CNN's article:
"If I don't make it," he said, "there's no need for any pity parties."
"People won't remember who you are or what you said," he said. "It's really about: Are you going to be remembered as a good person?"
"That's victory to me. That's success."
Rest in peace, Nick Charles.