Monday, March 12, 2007

Aldana's Trainer Confirms Death

By Josh Gross

Gilbert Aldana (Pictures), 29, passed away Sunday morning while boating with his family at Lake Pleasant in Peoria, Ariz. The body of the two-time UFC fighter has been found, the heavyweight's trainer Roland Sarria told Monday afternoon, but has not yet been recovered.

Aldana leaves behind a wife and two boys, ages 4 and 8.

"He was a devoted family man," Sarria said of Aldana. "His family was everything to him."

According to news reports, the Rage in the Cage veteran drowned after diving into the lake to recover a t-shirt that fell in the water.

"He went out with his best friend and his family," Sarria said. "His wife, his friend's wife and the kids. It was a weird thing that happened, because it happened as they were entering the lake. They were going like five miles-per-hour and that's when it happened. So they never got a chance to even get out in the lake. It happened in the early stage.

"It was really a freak accident."

Aldana was a part-time fighter, a throwback to the day when many UFC participants held second jobs. "It was hard for him to train," said Sarria, who worked with Aladana for close to three years. "He had a job. He had two kids. He was married. It was a really difficult situation for him and it was just hard for him to pour his heart and soul into his training. Plus over here in Arizona we didn't really have the right guys for him. But we did the best that we can for what we had."

That was good enough to land him a shot in the UFC after going undefeated in five RITC fights. The slugger from Chandler, Ariz. faced Paul Buentello (Pictures) in Feb. 2006, and as was his style, Aldana brawled before finally succumbing to punches early in the second round. He earned one more shot, losing to Cheick Kongo (Pictures) in the opening round of their July 2006 tilt.

"El Peligro" returned to competition in January, taking the first submission victory of his career in just 26 seconds.

"His dream was to eventually get back in the UFC after he had some better training," Sarria noted of the fallen heavyweight, whose mixed martial arts will stand at 6-2-0.

No comments: