MMA pioneer Soliz dies of COVID issues


Saul Soliz, a combined martial arts pioneer who educated among the greatest names within the historical past of MMA and helped get the game off the bottom in Texas, died Tuesday morning because of issues from COVID-19, based on his spouse, Toi. He was 55.

Soliz, whom many have dubbed “The Godfather of Texas MMA,” was within the hospital for “a number of weeks” due to the coronavirus, she mentioned.

“He had an extended battle,” Toi advised ESPN. “He fought actually exhausting.”

Soliz was most lately the top coach at Houston Metro Battle Membership, however his affect on MMA goes again greater than 20 years. He coached all-time nice UFC champions comparable to Tito Ortiz, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Michael Bisping and Ricco Rodriguez, who was certainly one of his closest associates. Soliz coached with Ortiz on The Final Fighter and had additionally labored with iconic girls’s MMA fighter Cris Cyborg.

“The legacy you left will reside on via the lives of all the scholars, household, and associates you’ve got touched alongside the best way,” Cyborg wrote on Fb.

Added Bisping in a tweet: “An ideal man and actually among the best coaches I’ve labored with.”

As well as, Soliz was instrumental in serving to MMA get off the bottom greater than 20 years in the past, working with the Texas Division of Licensing and Regulation to develop the principles for the game within the state.

“The ties between us in Texas MMA are utterly intertwined as it’s for your complete Texas MMA neighborhood,” UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard, who as soon as promoted exhibits in Texas, wrote on Fb. “Nobody can say they weren’t influenced instantly or not directly by Saul together with fee, promoters, fighters and coaches.”

Soliz’s Renegades Excessive Combating promotion in Houston made its debut in 2000, one 12 months earlier than Dana White and the Fertitta brothers purchased the UFC. Toi mentioned Soliz was the primary individual in Texas to place collectively a present with “that manufacturing worth that basically you are accustomed to seeing as we speak.”

“Blended martial arts is certainly his legacy,” Toi mentioned. “It is sort of the automobile for just about the whole lot else that he did. In that world and thru the lives that he touched in that world, he is very beloved. He is very revered. And actually missed by so many individuals. He touched plenty of lives. I do know that he touched plenty of lives, however at this level I feel it might even shock him what number of lives he touched.”

Lately, Soliz had been specializing in creating a youthful technology of expertise in MMA. Adrian Yanez, Soliz’s star pupil, is likely one of the finest up-and-coming bantamweight fighters within the UFC. Bantamweight prospect Mana Martinez, one other Soliz scholar, will make his UFC debut Aug. 28.

Yanez mentioned that Soliz turned a father determine to him when Yanez’s father died in 2016. Soliz employed him as a coach at Metro Battle Membership and took him beneath his wing. Soliz’s loss of life, Yanez mentioned, is not only a blow for his household and college students but additionally the Texas MMA scene and past.

On Aug. 4, Yanez mentioned he was in a position to have one final dialog along with his beloved coach earlier than issues took a flip for the more serious. Just a few days earlier, Yanez was charged with cornering his teammates at a Fury FC present with Soliz within the hospital. The outcomes weren’t what Yanez hoped for, and he apologized to Soliz on the telephone. Soliz advised him it wasn’t his fault and to not fear about it.

“Towards the tip of the dialog he simply began telling me how proud he was of me, how far I’ve come, how I by no means gave up and constantly at all times simply stayed true to who I’m,” Yanez mentioned. “He was simply happy with the person I turned. He stored giving me my praises. … I used to be simply tremendous completely satisfied to have the ability to inform him if it wasn’t for him, I would not be the place I am at. I’ve at all times tried to precise that to him at each flip, each nook. Since you simply by no means know.”

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