MMA

Ex-UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou announces death of his 15-month-old son Kobe

Ex-UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou announces death of his 15-month-old son Kobe

Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou announced Monday that his 15-month-old son Kobe had died. (Gary A. Vasquez/Reuters)

Former UFC champion Francis Ngannou announced the death of his 15-month-old son Kobe on Monday.

Ngannou made the announcement on social media, confirming earlier reports.

"Too soon to leave but yet he's gone," Ngannou wrote. "My little boy, my mate, my partner Kobe was full of life and joy. Now he's laying without life. I shouted his name over and over but he's not responding.

“I was my best self next to him and now I have no [clue] of who I am. Life is so unfair to hit us where it hurts the most.

“How do you deal with such a thing? How can you live with it? Please help me if you have an idea because I really don’t know what to do and how to deal with this.”

The circumstances of Kobe's death are unclear.

Ngannou made the announcement after making a social media post earlier Monday alluding to his son's death. His coach Eric Nicksick responded to that post asking his followers to keep Ngannou and his family "in your heart."

Ngannou, 37, spent six years as a UFC fighter from 2015-2021, compiling a 17-3 record. He knocked out Stipe Miocic for a stunning UFC 260 victory in 2021 to claim the UFC heavyweight championship. He successfully defended his belt with a unanimous decision over Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 in January of 2022. Ngannou didn't sign a new contract with UFC after defeating Gane and has not fought in the Octagon since.

Ngannou has since fought as a boxer and made waves in a loss to WBC and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in October. Ngannou lost that fight by split decision, but knocked Fury down and challenged the champion as an inexperienced boxer and 14-1 underdog making his pro debut. He lost via knockout to former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in March.

A native of Cameroon, Ngannou lifted himself from childhood poverty to the peak of mixed martial arts and success in the boxing world. He hasn't competed since facing Joshua in March.

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