Former UFC commentator Jeff Blatnick former died at the age of 55 due to complications following heart surgery, according to a report by wnyt.com.
Blatnick was a commentator for the UFC from 1994 to 2001. The last event he commentated was UFC 32, which was the third UFC event held by Zuffa, which had purchased the UFC from SEG in January 2001.
Blatnick won an Olympic Gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling in 1984. He and his teammate Steve Fraser became the first Americans to capture the gold in Greco-Roman wrestling.
Prior to winning the medal he had was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, which is a cancer of lymph tissue found in the lymph nodes and other areas in the body.
In a 2008 article in the Cortland Standard, Blatnick had his spleen removed and underwent radiation treatment.
In addition to being a commentator for the UFC, Blatnick was an advocate for mixed martial arts and helped create a set of rules and regulations that would eventually develop into the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, which is used by several promotions across the United States as well as other countries around the world.
He would also serve as an MMA judge at several UFC events and wrote the “Mixed Martial Arts Council Manual.”
Aside from his work in mixed martial arts, Blatnick served as a wrestling analyst for the 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.
Before his death, Blatnick was the coach for the Burtn Hills-Ballston Lake High School varsity wrestling team. He is survived by his wife and two children.