New England MMA pioneer Manny Neves dies at age 45, wake Friday
Manny Neves Funeral Information
Manny’s Wake will be held at:
Keefe Funeral Parlor
5 Higginson Avenue
Calling hours are 5-8 friday November 26. The Funeral is Saturday Morning
Rhode Island’s mixed martial arts community lost one of its premier figures and founding fathers early Monday morning when Pawtucket native Manny Neves passed away. He was 45.
Neves wore many hats in the fight business. He was an MMA fighter, Muay Thai fighter, and kickboxer. He was a trainer, a gym owner, and during the 2000s (when MMA shows weren’t allowed in Rhode Island), a promoter of several Massachusetts events.
Neves, who was inducted into the U.S.A. Martial Arts of Hall of Fame as an instructor and a competitor in 2007, had an 112-12 record in a fighting career that spanned more than a quarter of a century, and in 2007, saw him claim the Muay Thai world light heavyweight championship.
Neves was also a gym owner since 1983, and earlier this year, he moved his Elite MMA facility from Smithfield Avenue in Pawtucket to a 12,000-square foot compound on Walker Street in Lincoln.
Member Since: 1/1/01
Hey UG, if anyone was involved in MMA in New England over the last 10-12 years, the have probably known Manny Neves. Here is an article that I posted today on our regional site, www.NorthEastMMA.net
Manny Neves Funeral Info
This morning I received multiple phone calls from members of the MMA community shocked at hearing the news of RI promoter/fighter Manny Neves passing away this morning. I do not have any reliable details about funeral information yet, but I will post as soon as I do. Currently it appears that the funeral/visitation will take place after Thanksgiving.
I am posting this to inform the local MMA community and provide a forum for remembrances. In the comment section I ask that people refrain from saying anything disparaging. Regardless of who you are, if you have any history in this scene, you know Manny Neves. I actually fought at his school over 10 years ago against Jimmy Hattori at RIVT2. Manny provided an outlet for MMA since MMA was NHB. He was truly “old school.”
Maybe if people post stories about their history and experiences with Manny it could put some smiles on the faces of some who could really use it right now. Also, if there is good response I could print up a hard copy and get it to his family.
I’ll go first
My first real interaction with Manny was truly “back in the day.” I had a guy I was cornering at a RIVT which was supposed to be in RI. Unfortunately the “authorities” had caught wind and the location had to be changed to a warehouse in Fall River, MA. While this may sound strange to some of you “newbs”, this was just how we did it back then. So I get the address from a phone call (no text messages back then either!) and head to the show. Upon arrival to the address I see Manny Neves standing out front, arms folded, looking quite intimidating. I knew this must be the place as I recognized him from the last show. As I approached the door with my guys and gear, Manny stops us and gives me the old “can I help you?” I replied with a simple greeting and ask what floor the fight is on. He looks me dead in the eye and says “what fight?” I figure that this is probably not going to end well (and did not know Manny Neves well enough at that point to realize he was just messing with me). I start stammering about how I was told there was an NHB “exhibition” and I had part of the “demonstration team” here with me and so on. Finally Manny can’t keep the straight face and starts chuckling. He say “I was just f*ckin with you, go in the door, jump on the elevator, and good luck!”
Over the years I can honestly say that every time I dealt with Manny at shows he was nothing but a complete gentleman. Even when he had fighters who may have felt there was a bad call against them, he would tell them to quiet down, be respectful, and exit the cage.
Rest in Peace Manny,
Kevin “ the ref” MacDonald