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Professional and Catch As Catch Can Wrestler Billy Robinson, 75, passes away

British coach of the Wigan style of Catch Wrestling to many a Japanese MMA star including 'The Gracie Hunter' Kazushi Sakuraba has passed away at his home near Little Rock, Arkansas USA.

It's with sadness I and Bloody Elbow have to report the passing of professional wrestler and Catch As Catch Can Wrestling coach Billy Robinson.

Jake Shannon, the founder of Scientific Wrestling -- the catch wrestling promotional organisation Robinson worked with as an advisor and head coach -- broke the news earlier via Facebook.

I am unbelievably sad to report that my very good friend Billy Robinson passed away today. I hadn't heard from him in days so I contacted his apartment complex to check in on him. When I called back for a progress report the apartment manager put the police on the phone, it seems he passed peacefully in his sleep. He was a lion of a man, bigger than life in so many ways, my wife and I named our youngest son, Lliam in his honor. You will be sorely missed, my friend. Thank you so much for living the life you did.

The Snake Pit Wigan -- the successor to Riley's Gym, spiritual home of Billy Robinson when he was learning the ropes as a young man -- also offered their condolences.

We have just heard the very sad news that Billy Robinson passed away , one of the best wrestlers to come out of Rileys gym , a legend whose success spanned amateur , professional and coaching. It is a loss for the community as a whole and our thoughts are with his family and students. You will always be remembered for what you did for the sport of Catch as Catch can.

Having retired as a professional wrestler in the early 1990's, Robinson had trained many of the Japanese wrestlers who crossed over into MMA in Japan, most notably fighters like Yoji Anjo, Kiyoshi Tamura and the incomparable Kazushi Sakuraba.

Robinson would later come back into notoriety through his efforts with Scientific Wrestling to bring the sport of Catch Wrestling back thanks largely to videos of Robinson shared through social media sites such as Youtube courtesy of Scientific Wrestling and Damage Control MMA in particular. Robinson also served as a coach at Westside MMA in Little Rock, Arkansas, owned by former UFC fighter Roli Delgado.

Former UFC Heavyweight champion Josh Barnett considered him a mentor and dedicated his No Gi Worlds win from 2009 to Robinson, while MMA coach Erik Paulson believed him to be the greatest living authority on Catch Wrestling technique.

Women's MMA has also been influenced by Robinson, with former best in the world Megumi Fujii and current UFC WMMA fighter Shayna Baszler having spent time training under him.

The world of professional wrestling and MMA is all the better for having had Billy Robinson in it, and he will be sorely missed.

Rest In Peace Billy Robinson 1938 - 2014.

Correction Edit: Wikipedia's report of Robinson being born in 1939 is incorrect. I have confirmed with Jake Shannon and Japanese wrestling historian Yasutoshi Ishikawa that 1938 is the correct year.