As he prepared for his first sanctioned MMA fight, Tyrone “Teesta” Mims joked around with others and flashed his bright smile.
In great condition, he passed the pre-fight physical. Mims appeared ready.
That’s why his family and friends are trying to figure out Monday how it all went so wrong. The 30-year-old Augusta amateur fighter died after his Saturday night bout in Charleston, S.C.
“We’re just trying to make sense of it all,” said Chris Cole, a cousin of Mims. “You couldn’t find a guy with a bigger heart.”
At a Monday news conference, MMA officials and friends said Mims was prepared for his big fight against Blake Poore. Augusta Fight Club team physician Jeffrey Broder said he was the “perfect specimen.”
“The guy was in great shape,” Broder said. “There wasn’t one sign of any problem he would’ve had.”
Mims dominated the first round of his three-round match. He appeared to be in control of Round 2 until Poore knocked him down. Then, Sims appeared fatigued. The referee called the bout. After he left the ring, Mims went back to the locker room to have his gloves cut off. Then, he complained of chest pain.
An autopsy for Mims was scheduled for Monday. Even that might not comfort those like Christopher Hauser, who called Mims his “brother,” a guy he saw compete harder at the Augusta Fight Club than in his Saturday match.
Mims was one of several fighters featured in an upcoming reality TV show called Georgia Boys: Grits N’ Glory. Officials with the series said they are accepting donations at the show’s Web site, www.gaboysgritsnglory.com, to offset the cost of the funeral and to set up a trust fund for his five children, ages 4 to 12.
Mark Crump, executive producer of Georgia Boys: Grits N’ Glory, read a statement on the family’s behalf.
“Teesta loved being a trained mixed martial arts fighter and was very excited to be a part of a reality television show,” Crimp said. “There are risks involved in every contact sport, and the participants are well aware of them. We will not speculate on the cause of his death and will wait to receive the official coroner’s report.”