Deputy Coroner Dottie Lindsay says Tyrone Mims of Augusta, Ga., collapsed after the fight and was pronounced dead about 9:30 p.m. Saturday. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 13, 2012)
News 12 at 11 o'clock / Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Friends and family gathered on Sunday to remember an Augusta MMA fighter who died last week during a fight in Charleston.
Tyrone "Teesta" Mims had only been with the Augusta Fight Club for three months. Last week he had his first sanctioned fight, which also turned out to be his last.
It was an emotional night at the Augusta Riverfront Amphitheater as friends and family remembered Mims.
"It's amazing all these people showing up, showing their love, showing their respect and sending a warrior off a way that he should," said Coach Chris Hauser.
There were lots of tears and a lot of laughs as they shared stories and memories of the MMA fighter.
"It was one of the greatest honors of my life to be able to train with somebody of such high caliber and class and dignity and loyalty," Hauser said. "He's an extremely honorable man."
"You wouldn't find a guy with a bigger heart," added his cousin Chris Cole.
Mims died one week ago during a fight in Charleston. After his performance in round one everyone thought he was going to win. But then, in round two, something went wrong. The referee stopped the fight. As they were cutting his gloves off, Mims said his chest hurt. He collapsed and they still don't know why.
"I believe wholeheartedly that Teesta was ready and he was prepared -- this is just one of those tragic accidents," Hauser said.
"It's never an easy thing, especially when it happens in a situation like this -- that's very unexpected," Cole said. "None of us expected to go to Charleston and come back to Augusta and return home without our champ."
But they say they find comfort knowing Mims died doing what he loved.
"A lot of people chase different things in life, but we can honestly sit up here and say Tyrone was a guy that went out chasing his dream," Cole said.
Mims leaves behind five kids. The Charleston County coroner has ruled out heart issues as the cause of death, but right now they're still waiting on autopsy results to find out exactly what happened.
They will be holding the funeral for Mims on Tuesday at 11:30 in the Paine College Chapel.