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MMA star who fought for UFC legend Georges St-Pierre in The Ultimate Fighter dead at 33 after cops pull his body from river in US

The mother of Dane Sayers, an American MMA fighter who is said to have been given a board by Georges St-Pierre after beating the UFC legend at chess, has paid tribute after the 33-year-old’s body was pulled from a river by police.

Cops confirmed on Monday that Sayers, who his mother said loved to search riverbanks for driftwood which he used to make art and gave away to people to use for their own creations such as decorating wedding venues, had drowned in a river in Fargo, North Dakota.

The athlete took part in Ultimate Fighter 12 in 2010, when he was part of two-division champion St-Pierre’s stable before going on to earn five wins from eight fights in the remainer of his MMA career.

“We loved him very much,” said Bonnie Sayers, talking to Inforum about a lifelong athlete who was also proud of his North American heritage and was given his ‘Red Horse’ fighting nickname from the chief of a Native American tribe he was enrolled in.

“He loved to play chess. He loved to play Scrabble. He was really charming. He was handsome. He was funny. When he smiled, it would just light up a room.

“We’re going to spend our life making sure his memory is always kept alive.”

Sayers’ enthusiasm for board games is said to have extended to his friendship with St-Pierre, with the icon reputedly giving him a board as a gift after losing to him at chess.

“He was a really nice guy,” said coach Dylan Spicer.

“I don’t know that intimidating is the right word, but on the mat he was like a tank. He was hard to move.”

The fight show contestant last competed in professional MMA in 2018 and went on to pursue bare knuckle fighting and boxing. He also worked in IT support.

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