RIP K-1 legend Mike Bernardo, 1969-2012

A reliable source close to the situation has confirmed that K-1 legend and one-time MMA fighter Mike Bernardo has passed away at the age of 42 in his home city of Cape Town.

There has been no official cause of death released, but students and friends on social networks have repeatedly referenced suicide.

Bernardo made his K-1 debut in K-1 World GP 1995 Opening against Andy Hug. His career victories include Mirko ‘CroCop’, Francisco Filho, Andy Hug, and three straight over Peter Aerts. He won the K-1 Grand Prix 2000.

Bernardo also competed occasionally as a boxer, taking the WBF heavyweight world championship in 2000, and defending it against the infamous Peter McNeely in 2001. He lost the belt in 2002 due to inactivity.

He had a single foray in MMA, drawing vs. Nobuhiko Takada in 2001. It can be said of his MMA fighting that he was one of the most exciting fighters in K-1 history.

On New Year’s Eve of 2004, Bernardo was going to face Nigerian fighter and Japanese-TV personality Bobby Ologun in “K1-Dynamite!” but couldn’t take part in the event due to an injury. He retired that year and found sucess as a coach at his own gym.