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Local Canadian promoter dies in canoeing accident, forces event postponement

A northern Manitoba organization was scheduled to promote the first mixed martial arts card in the Keystone Province in almost three years until its owner suddenly and tragically passed away in a canoeing accident last week.

A tragedy has postponed mixed martial arts’ return to Manitoba.

Throwdown In T-Town promoter Shane Cripps, 44, passed away in a canoeing accident on May 22 — the Monday of a Canadian long weekend — in Thompson, Manitoba alongside his 14-year-old son, Dylan, his friend, Conor Sykes, 33, and Sykes’ six-year-old son, Liam. All four bodies were found that evening by a rescue crew, RCMP told The Winnipeg Free Press. They were all wearing life jackets.

The cause of death is currently unknown.

Cripps was set to promote the inaugural Throwdown In T-Town event on June 3 in Thompson. The card, which would have featured a heavyweight title fight between Jared Henderson and Rick Genaille, was postponed until “sometime in October” by organization officials, per a social media post.

“It was (Cripps’ wife) Li's wish that we continue this legacy and the family needs some time to process what has happened,” the post read. “We need to do this correctly and logistically there is a lot that needs to be reworked.”

Manitoba has not hosted a mixed martial arts event since September 2014. Mercenary Combat League, a pro organization based in the Keystone Province, is set to host its first event this fall in Winnipeg.

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