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ESPN anchor and MMA fan Stuart Scott passes away after battle with cancer

Best known as the man who gave us "boo ya!", the ESPN anchor was also a committed practitioner of mixed martial arts and used the sport to power his fight against cancer which he lost this weekend.

MMA fans have lost one of our own today.

Long-time ESPN anchor Stuart Scott has passed at the age of 49 after a seven year battle with cancer. Scott was featured in a New York Times profile last year that spoke at length about the role his MMA training played in his fight against the dread disease.

Scott's story, while sad, is also an inspiring one and illustrates how MMA has become part of the cultural norm in 21st Century America. It may well be that the true impact of mixed martial arts on our society is less about bros watching bruisers slug each other in the cage and more about everyday people using the discipline and intensity of the sport to find a source of empowerment in their lives.

That was the case for Scott who told the NYT that he trained MMA after chemo to "restore the energy that chemotherapy saps from him."

Here's an excerpt from that feature:

Dressed all in black for a recent workout, he popped in a mouthpiece inscribed with the initials of his daughters, Sydni, 14, and Taelor, 19, and then walked onto the blue and gray padded floor to face Darin Reisler, the sculptured owner of the gym. For 90 minutes, they battled and sparred.

Despite his weakened condition, Scott is skillful, quick and graceful. His breathing grew labored as the workout progressed, but he was happy to be back. He needs the physical contact, he said, the jolt of competitiveness.

"Jab! Cross! Hook! Jab!" Reisler shouted. Scott's punches shot out in quick combinations that smacked off Reisler's hand pads, echoing in the nearly empty gym.

The kicks came next - three in rapid succession. Then Scott leapt and delivered a flying kick at Reisler. "You kick like an ox," he told Scott.

Scott and Reisler moved on to chokeholds and arm bars - sometimes both stopped to explain their submissions as if teaching a class - and wrapped up by fighting in a steel cage.

"God, that felt good," Scott said as he pulled off his custom-made blue helmet and left the cage.

But he was also an MMA and UFC fan as these tweets from his one-time ESPN colleague (and current UFC commentator for Fox Sports) Jon Anik illustrate:

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