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UFC 1 referee Helio Vigio passes away at age 82

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UFC 1: The Beginning

One of the first men to referee a fight inside the Octagon passed away Thursday morning in Rio de Janeiro.

Helio Vigio, who refereed four bouts at UFC 1 in 1993, including the tournament final between Royce Gracie and Gerard Gordeau, was battling cancer and spent the last 15 days in the hospital, but suffered kidney failure this morning. Vigio’s family confirmed the news to MMA Fighting following a report by PVT.

Vigio’s funeral will take place Friday at the Memorial do Carmo cemetery in Rio.

Vigio, 82, was a jiu-jitsu red belt under the legendary Carlos Gracie. He competed in Vale Tudo fights and refereed historic match-ups, like the jiu-jitsu clash between Royce Gracie and Wallid Ismail in 1998, and the 1984 Vale Tudo event at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanazinho. Vigio also worked as a police officer in Rio.