MMA Community Pay Respect To Robert Follis Who Passed Away Today
The MMA community woke up to the sad news this morning that Robert Follis has passed away.
Up until November, Follis had been one of the figurehead coaches at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas where he worked for years coaching the likes of Miesha Tate, Kevin Lee and Heather Jo Clark.
No details have yet been come out regarding his passing, but several members of the MMA community have paid their respects on social media. We will update this report when there is further news.
You don’t realize how much of an impact you had on my life. A good coach is so much more than someone to teach techniques. Through the darkest moments in my career and life you’ve helped me see the light and keep pushing. I thank you for everything and apologize for everything more. The next gold belt is for you.
A friend is a person who is there for you when you need an ear to listen or a shoulder to lean on. We are friends and I am terribly sorry that my ear or shoulder wasn't enough to help you get through difficult times. We love and respect you Coach/Partner/Friend! RIP Robert Follis pic.twitter.com/RVSka0ZqUW
— Dewey Cooper (@DeweyCooper) December 17, 2017
I am in Finland at this moment and got word that Robert Follis has passed away. Hoping this is wrong!! This is a huge loss if true. One of the finest trainers and men in the world of MMA. Please, please be fake news
— Big John McCarthy (@JohnMcCarthyMMA) December 17, 2017
I'm saddened to hear about the passing of Robert Follis. I've seen some of his Xtreme Couture family tweeting about their loss & I don't know much on details. What I do know is he was someone who didn't just brighten a room, he brightened the lives of fighters around him. RIP
— Heidi Fang (@HeidiFang) December 17, 2017
Robert Follis graduated from West Linn HS in 1988. Because of his religion, Jehovah Witness,he didn’t participate in any sports. He became a bartender in the 90s and took up self defense. His first big break was as a training partner for Randy Couture in 97 b4 Maurice White fight
— FrontRowBrian (@FrontRowBrian) December 17, 2017
Follis wasn't a good fighter. Didn't come from any sort of athletic pedigree but he made himself a great coach. He'd attend seminars with a notebook by his side to bring back techniques to the gym. He made himself a great coach.
— FrontRowBrian (@FrontRowBrian) December 17, 2017
I became good friends with Robert Follis throughout filming of TUF 25 I just stayed at his house last week I haven’t heard what happened can anyone fill me in? He was an awesome guy and the more I got to know him the more respect I had for him
— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) December 17, 2017
According to several reports, Robert Follis has passed away.
Follis and the Xtreme Couture gym in Las Vegas had parted ways just over a month ago.
Follis coached former champion Miesha Tate, Kevin Lee and many others.
RIP Coach Follis.
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) December 17, 2017
Heart Broken to hear the news about Coach Robert Follis. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and the fighters he trained. I remember his voice during my pro debut as he coached against me, and how kind he was after the fight. He was a father/mentor to so many of his athletes. Coach Follis always made time to talk to me about his athletes and their development. The way he spoke about them was the way a parent boasts about their children. We lost a big piece of our MMA community. He was both a pioneer in the beginning of MMA and an innovator in today’s evolving sport. My heart is with Ed Herman, Ryan Schultz, Chris Leben, Meisha Tate, Tim Elliott, and so many other fighters who are devastated right now. We won’t forget you Coach Follis. RIP
Absolutely awful to hear that Robert Follis passed away ? That man helped a ton of fighters, directly and indirectly. Hard to think of all the loved ones he leaves behind. ? for everyone that was close to him, I’m so sorry.
— Lauren Murphy (@LaurenMurphyMMA) December 17, 2017
Got word this morning that my longtime coach passed away.
Robert Follis was a special type of guy who always stuck with you. When I was badly injured, he encouraged me to keep studying fights on the sidelines, knowing it would take me somewhere. Thanks for everything, coach. RIP pic.twitter.com/I33FBkbVUZ
— Dan Tom (@DanTomMMA) December 17, 2017
Can’t believe what I woke up to about Robert Follis. Truly a class act every single time I interacted with him. Great guy to be around and so knowledgeable. The MMA world will not be the same
— Jimmy Smith (@jimmysmithmma) December 17, 2017
Coach Follis cornered against me twice in the @rfafighting, vs @silverxsmith & @bristolmarunde so he knew me well. When I had to fight teammate @dhlimamma on #TUF25 he was the 1st Coach I asked to corner me. We put on a great performance Together!!! pic.twitter.com/Iz6Q5ozzfI
— Gilbert Jamal Smith (@gjsvictorymma) December 17, 2017
Stunned and saddened to hear about Robert follis passing. We both graduated as instructors under @aliveness_ape he went on to do great things with Team Quest and more recently Extreme Couture. A truly great coach who was always quick to offer advice. RIP Robert
— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) December 17, 2017
Extremely saddened to hear the news about Robert Follis. Heartbroken for his family and close friends. He was truly one of the good guys in the sport.
— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) December 17, 2017
I'm just seeing this news about Robert Follis from several people online. What an absolute tragedy. Robert truly was one of the best people in this business and a legendary coach. I'm just stunned right now.
— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) December 17, 2017
I’m deeply hurt to find out that the world lost a great coach and all around amazing human being. Robert Follis is my Jiu Jitsu coach and a good friend. RIP COACH! You are gone but NEVER forgotten! pic.twitter.com/86ocVzh1V2
— "The Rockstar" Rodney James ? (@RodneyJames138) December 17, 2017
Wordsmith @JESnowden summed up Robert Follis well: “He had that amazing positive energy. But not in a showy way. Just quietly picked people up and carried them forward.”
— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) December 17, 2017
Really sorry to hear about the passing of Robert Follis – an underrated coach, genuinely one of the greatest of this generation, and by all accounts one of the best people in MMA.
— Patrick Wyman (@Patrick_Wyman) December 17, 2017
At a loss for worlds. Lost a coach and a friend today. You gave me my brown belt and the encouragement to keep striving to be better in mma and in life. Rest In Peace coach @robertfollis #mma #mmacoach #xtremecouture #coach #rip #youwillbemissed #ufc #fightcoach pic.twitter.com/aYeRndonEL
— Justin Jaynes (@JustinJaynesMMA) December 17, 2017
— Jessica Eye (@jessicaevileye) December 17, 2017
Authors Note: I was lucky enough to be introduced to Rob back in 2015 by my good friend Dan Tom when shooting documentary video at Xtreme Couture. From then on, he was always one to come say hello if our paths crossed at shows and when your travelling on your own frequently, it means a lot to see a friendly face.
I didn’t know Rob that well, but my lasting memory of him will be at UFC Belfast in Nov. 2016 when he was in the corner of Kevin Lee as he beat Magomed Mustafaev. After the show, I caught up with him in the bar and he spent a good hour telling me how Kevin was training at a different level and how he was convinced that he would one day be a world champion. Coaches often tell you that about their fighters, but the sincerity in his voice was deep and you could tell that he was delighted to see one of his guys put on the performance of a lifetime.
Another one of my good journalist friends Jonathan Shrager got to know Rob a whole lot better than I ever did and here’s an excellent documentary with him and Heather Jo Clark ahead of UFC Rotterdam. Rest in peace Rob.