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Blackzilians founder Glenn Robinson dead

Glenn Robinson (center) and the Blackzilians in happier times, after Kamaru Usman won The Ultimate Fighter in 2015.
Glenn Robinson (center) celebrating a victory with fighters from the Blackzilians team back in July 2015
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The MMA community lost an influential figure on Thursday.

Glenn Robinson, the founder of the Blackzilians team based out of Boca Raton, Fla., has died due to a suspected heart attack, per MMA Junkie. Robinson’s death was first noted by reporter Christopher James on his Facebook, and later confirmed by Robinson’s daughter Sam via social media.

@samxrobinson, Instagram

The Blackzilians team was formed in 2011 as the brainchild of Robinson, who was the president of Iron Bridge Tools, a successful tool manufacturer. Since founding the camp, Robinson had worked with the likes of former UFC champions Rashad Evans, Eddie Alvarez, and Vitor Belfort, as well as world title contenders Anthony Johnson and Volkan Oezdemir, among many other notable names.

Robinson gained some notoriety of his own as a coach on season 21 of The Ultimate Fighter, which saw him pitted against rival American Top Team coach Dan Lambert. That season was eventually won by a Blackzilian fighter, current welterweight title contender Kamaru Usman.

Recent years have seen the Blackzilian name fade in relevance after a split between Robinson and head coach Henri Hooft, with several of the team’s stars migrating to Hooft’s newly formed Combat Club MMA in Lantana, Fla. near the start of 2017. Robinson has had to deal with other business problems, with Iron Bridge Tools filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In an interview from February 2017, Robinson told MMA Fighting that he was proud of what he’d built with the Blackzilians, despite his struggles.

“It’s a name that’s known worldwide,” Robinson said. “And right now the Blackzilians name doesn’t stand for black or white, it just stands for power. It doesn’t stand for race, religion, creed, color. It just stands for honor, it just stands for strength.”

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