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Olympic gold medalist Jeff Blatnick passes away at 55 years old

Jeff Blatnick, 1984 Olympic gold medalist, and early UFC commentator has passed away due to complications following heart surgery today.

Blatnick competed as a super heavyweight Greco-American wrestler and made the Olympic team in 1980. However, he didn’t compete due to America’s boycott of those Olympic games.

He was a diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1982 and was able to defeat Tomas Johansson just two years later after having his spleen and appendix removed as part of his treatment. Johansson tested positive for a banned substance afterwards and was disqualified.

After the Olympics Blatnick had another battle with cancer and did a variety of things including motivational speaking and MMA judging. In particular, Blatnick served as UFC commentator from 1994 to 2001, and also helped develop rules for MMA as the sport worked to become regulated while he was the commissioner of the UFC.

Blatnick was 55 years old and survived by his wife and two children.

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