Monday, March 12, 2007

UFC Vet Gilbert Aldana presumed drowned after tragic boating accident

By Thomas Gerbasi

UFC veteran Gilbert Aldana is presumed to have drowned after a tragic boating accident Sunday morning in his native Arizona. He was 29.

According to reports from Phoenix news stations KPHO and KSAZ, Aldana apparently drowned while trying to retrieve a shirt that had fallen off the boat he was riding in. Efforts by a friend to rescue him were unsuccessful, and divers from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office are currently searching for Aldana’s body in Phoenix’ Lake Pleasant.

“Gilbert Aldana was a real fighter and he always gave 100% in every bout he was in,” said UFC President Dana White. “He will be sorely missed by everyone in the mixed martial arts community and the thoughts and prayers of our organization are with his family and friends.”

Known as “El Peligroso”, which translated means “The Dangerous One”, Aldana was as fierce inside the Octagon as he was soft-spoken and affable outside of it. He built a reputation as a crowd-pleaser with his aggressive style and eagerness to stand toe-to-toe with his opponents, and won his first five MMA bouts by KO or TKO in a combined three minutes and 43 seconds, earning him a shot at the UFC.

In the Octagon, Aldana - a former football player for Mesa Community College - would lose exciting bouts to Paul Buentello and Cheick Kongo, but he started on the road back to the UFC in January with a 26 second submission win over Rich Beecroft in Arizona.

In addition to his fighting career, Aldana worked as a sales manager for Valley Protective Services. He is survived by a wife and two sons.

“He was an extremely devoted family man,” said Roland Sarria, Aldana’s trainer and manager. “He came up the hard way in life, but he did really well for himself as far as his profession. Fighting was kind of like a hobby for him, but it eventually started to grow into something that he wanted to make a living at someday. But the most important thing about Gilbert was that he was a family man.”

The UFC family sends its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Gilbert Aldana.

No comments: