Remembering Ryan Jimmo
These were a couple of words used to describe Ryan Jimmo. The MMA world is still in shock over the death of the Canadian fighter who was killed in a hit and run on June 26 in Edmonton, Alberta. The truck has been seized by Edmonton Police and charges have been laid against Anthony Getschel and Jordan Wagner.
Back when I was in broadcasting school in 2007, I loved covering various sporting events. I was a fan of the UFC, so when I saw that Extreme Cage Combat was having their 7th event, I decided that I wanted to cover it for class. I went to the press conference for the official press announcement at The Palace nightclub where I meet promotion owner Peter Martell and some of the fighters that would be on the card. After the press conference was over, I interviewed a couple of the fighters and the first guy I interviewed was none other than Ryan Jimmo. He was very nice and he was curious about what I did and what I studied, so it was a great experience. Over the next couple of years, I got to cover a lot of his early fights and frequently talked with him about the sport either at a local bar he was bouncing at or at the bus stop while he was going to training. After he moved to Edmonton to continue his career, I had lost touch with him but heard from him once in a blue moon.
After hearing the news of his death, I remember not sleeping a wink that night. I figured there was something I can do to honor his memory. I wanted people to remember him for the person he was while he was on the earth. I reached out to some of the people who knew him best and had them share their favorite memories of him. While I was unable to reach everyone I wanted to for this piece. I am sure Ryan would have loved to have seen the out pour of love.
Roger Alves (Training Partner) – I remember one time I asked Jimmo what he wanted to do this weekend and you know what we ended up doing. We went to Jimmo’s house with Mike Van Arsdale and we just ended up playing the connect on Xbox. We played golf, this baseball game, track and field, and bunch of these games where you just played with your body. We ordered a bunch of pizzas and hanged out like we were a bunch of high school kids playing video games. It was always just simple things like that where he would always make it a good time. There were always times like that where we would just do random things and we would eat pizza every time. You never knew what to expect from him.
Peter Martell (Jimmo’s 1st MMA Coach) – I remember when Ryan first started training with us. We were training together and every time I would submit him, he would look at me and say I hate you Peter. It was funny because he was new to ground fighting and he really had no idea what he was doing and it was kind of an eye opener for him. He was used to being the top dog at every sport. I could tell he wasn’t resentful of it, but that he was eager to learn what was going on and why he was being submitted, but I think you could see he was someone who was going to excel.
Andy Cotterill (Former MMA Writer for Sherdog) – When Jimmo lived in Halifax, we used to hang out all the time. It was pretty common knowledge that Jimmo was not a big drinker, so we would do stuff that other people would probably find goofy. We used to love watching Arnold Schwarzenegger movies and in fight scenes Arnold would always make these weird noises that you wouldn’t be able to type out. He had this plan once when we went to a Wendy’s. We went in separately like we weren’t together. He went to the counter first. He loved Baconators, so he went to the counter and started talking like Arnold during those fight scenes but he would throw Baconator half way in and it was the only word you could understand. The girl at the cash looked at him weird, of course, and she continued to ask questions for a minute and he continued with the same response. The whole time I was behind him and I was looking at him weird and everyone else was like, ‘what’s this guy’s problem?’ So he got his food and it was my turn and I looked at him and he gave a shrug and I gave him one and the cashier said what’s is that guy’s problem and then I ended up doing the exact same thing and everyone just started laughing. He was just a goofy guy. A loveable guy.
Christien Savoie (Training partner) – My most vivid memory of him was one of the first times I met him and I was asking him a bunch of questions. He said hold on a second and he just gets up and starts doing the robot in front of everyone. I kind of got a quick realization of the guy. Ryan did take me under his wing and he was a big inspiration to me and to any athlete coming out of Saint John because it is such a small city. Growing up, I always heard it was such a small city and it’s so hard to get out and make something of yourself. Well, his success was a great inspiration to me.
Bobby Karimi-Busheri (Former manager) – I remember the first time he came to Edmonton to move here. He stayed at my condo and I wasn’t there. I had an 1982 bottle of wine in the cupboard and the next day I come over to pick him up and was like, “Hey Bobby, you had this great bottle of wine in the cupboard and I cracked it open and I drank the whole thing and it was fantastic.” I was like, “Are you kidding me man, that cost me a lot of money! I have been saving that for a special occasion and I don’t drink so it wasn’t for myself.” He was like, “It was in the home for someone to drink and it was fantastic.” I was so pissed. I also remember the first time I ever met him in person. It was in a buffet line at River Cree Casino. I remember he asked me, a friend, and Luke Harris, we didn’t know him really, but he asked us if the seeds in sliced tomatoes freaked us out like him because the seeds looked like alien embryo (or what he thought alien embryo would look like) and that he didn’t like to eat them. He thought it was weird that he was eating alien babies. He was definitely strange, but in a good way like a wacky, quirky guy.
Allen Hope (Training partner) – I remember waking up in the middle of the night when we lived together in the and Ryan would be playing chess by himself in the living room. He was also super embarrassing when we would go out and get groceries and when I would pay for them at the checkout, he would just start going full robot dance in the checkout line and people would look at him and I would tell him to stop but that was Jimmo being Jimmo and that is who he was. I trained MMA with him every day but those are things I am going to remember most about him. Just hanging out around the house when we would have our pizza night once a week where we would pig out on two large pizzas, those are the best.
Ryan Saunders (Childhood friend) – When I was a kid in high school, I was a skinny kid and a shadow of man but Ryan saw something in me. I don’t know what but he believed in me and he was the first person to do so. I remember when I was taking a bus to our high school. We pulled into a parking lot and there was a massive crowd amassing. When you see a crowd like that in high school gathering and chanting, your first thought is who is fighting. I got off the bus and I asked who was fighting and someone said you are. I laughed and asked ‘Why was I fighting?’ Someone had started a rumour that had nothing to do with me. This guy was like 6’4 in high school and he would have murdered me. I am standing there and there are hundreds of kids standing around me and they are screaming fight fight fight and I got nowhere to go. I never told anyone this but I was terrified. Then, like in a cartoon, I see these bodies flying out of the way and steaming thought the crowd comes Ryan Jimmo like a bull. I could see the steam coming from his nose and he pointed his fingers at the guy and said if you want to touch him you will have to go through me and that was the first time anyone stood up for me and that was the kind of guy Ryan was. Nothing happened. The guy pissed his pants but that was the day I knew Ryan would always have my back. He always stood up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves. He was the biggest inspiration for everything in my life and was influenced by this man. How I eat, how I sleep, how I shower, how I deal with my kids. I am going to miss being 70 years old and sitting on a porch, drinking scotch and smoking a cigar and not have my best friend with me. I am going to miss seeing his kids, being the best man at his wedding, him coming to my daughter’s sweet 16 party or prom. I am going to miss all that.
Roxie Reece (Ryan’s Girlfriend) – Ryan is the love of my life and we fell in love and have a beautiful love story. Ryan and I met online and we enjoyed chatting and laughing so much…that same day we started talking, Ryan asked me to coffee to a little hippie coffee place in Tempe called Cartel Coffee. Ryan loved green tea and ordered me a coffee. We sat down and talked and laughed and after a bit Ryan asked for a kiss. Just a little kiss to which I responded ‘Sorry I don’t kiss on the first date.’ Conversation carried on and he just really seemed to want that kiss! Of course, that big smile of his was rather irresistible. I made Ryan a deal….or should I say “big deal?” Lol! I said, ‘Ok Ryan, you show me one of your karate moves and I will give you a kiss’ to which he enthusiastically agreed. Ryan said, ‘Ok put out your hand’…and he held my hand out…then he put out his hand. He then moved our hands together and steadily moved them up and down. That was the moment I realized that this guy just showed me a handshake! Ryan then responded by saying, ‘This is the most valuable move you will ever learn. If you learn this move and how to shake people’s hands through life, you will always make friends and you will never have to fight in your life.’ To which I quickly smiled and was instantly impressed by this rather simple yet wise move from Ryan. I could instantly see how smart, perceptive and creative Ryan was. I, of course, couldn’t help but give him a hard time that he didn’t show me some crazy karate chop move or something… Lol! We loved to joke with each other and just couldn’t seem to help ourselves. Ryan then leaned in and kissed me to which I remember it was as if two worlds collided and fireworks seeming to go off all around. I think chemistry was an understatement and we both knew it! I remember saying to him, ‘Ok Mister, you just need to stay on that side of the booth’ to which Ryan just smiled that big smile of his and kissed me again…and so our unique love story began! Ryan Jimmo and I shared a love that was like no other. A love that some people often don’t find in a lifetime. We truly found the love of our lives in each other and for that I am so thankful. Ryan Jimmo will always be the true love of my life and for that I am beyond blessed in every way!