Corey Hill was a professional mixed martial artist who competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as a lightweight and welterweight. He was also a contestant on the fifth season of the reality show The Ultimate Fighter, where he impressed the coaches and fans with his potential and skills. However, his promising career was cut short by a horrific leg injury in 2008, and he never fought in the UFC again. In 2015, he passed away at the age of 36 due to complications from pneumonia. What was the cause of his death, and how did it relate to his previous injury? This article will explore the tragic story of Corey Hill and his fatal illness.
A Promising Talent with a Devastating Injury
Corey Hill was born on October 3, 1978, in Martinsburg, West Virginia. He was a talented wrestler who won state championships in high school and college. He started training in mixed martial arts in 2006 and made his professional debut in 2007. He was selected to be part of The Ultimate Fighter 5, where he lied about his record to get on the show. He claimed to have a 10-0 record, but he actually had only two amateur wins. His first professional fight was on the show, where he defeated Rob Emerson by a controversial decision. He then lost to Nate Diaz by submission in the quarterfinals.
Hill made his official UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 12 in 2008, where he knocked out Joe Veres in the second round. He then faced Justin Buchholz at UFC 86, where he was submitted by a rear-naked choke in the second round. His third UFC fight was against Dale Hartt at UFC: Fight for the Troops in December 2008. This was the fight that changed his life forever.
In the second round of the fight, Hill threw a low kick that Hartt checked with his shin. The impact caused Hill’s right leg to snap in half, resulting in one of the most gruesome injuries in MMA history. Hill collapsed to the ground in agony, and the referee stopped the fight immediately. Hill was taken to a hospital, where he underwent surgery to repair his broken leg. He had a metal rod inserted into his tibia and screws attached to his fibula. He also suffered nerve damage and muscle loss in his leg.
The recovery process was long and painful for Hill, who had to learn how to walk again. He was out of action for more than a year, but he never gave up on his dream of returning to the octagon. He received support from the UFC, his sponsors, and his fans during this difficult time. He told Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports: “The UFC was awesome throughout this whole thing and was so good to me, I feel indebted to them.”
A Comeback Cut Short by a Rare Illness
Hill made his comeback in January 2010, where he won a unanimous decision over Jason Trzewieczynski at an independent event. He then fought Mark Holst at XKL: Evolution 1 in March 2010, where he lost by submission via kimura. He continued to fight on the regional circuit, winning some and losing some, but never getting another chance in the UFC.
In May 2015, Hill fell ill with what he thought was a common cold. He went to see a doctor, who diagnosed him with pneumonia and prescribed him antibiotics. However, his condition did not improve, and he started having trouble breathing. He was admitted to a hospital in Tampa, Florida, where he was put on a ventilator.
Hill’s wife Lauran told TMZ Sports that her husband had contracted a rare form of pneumonia called fungal pneumonia, which is caused by inhaling fungal spores from soil or plants. She said that this type of pneumonia is very hard to treat and can spread quickly throughout the body. She also said that Hill’s previous leg injury may have weakened his immune system and made him more susceptible to infections.
On May 15, 2015, Hill suffered a cardiac arrest due to a collapsed lung as a result of the pneumonia. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. He left behind his wife and three children.
A Legacy Remembered by Many
Hill’s death shocked and saddened the MMA community, who paid tribute to him on social media and other platforms. Many praised him for his courage, determination, and spirit. Some of his former opponents and teammates also expressed their condolences and respect for him.
The UFC released a statement on its website: “The UFC family mourns the tragic loss of Corey Hill, who passed away on May 15 due to complications from pneumonia at the age of 36.”
Hill’s coach and friend Rob Kahn told MMA Fighting: “He was a great person, a great father, a great husband and a great friend. He was a very positive person. He always had a smile on his face. He was always joking around. He was a very fun person to be around.”
Hill’s legacy lives on through his family, his friends, and his fans. He will always be remembered as a fighter who overcame adversity and never gave up on his passion. He will also be remembered as a person who inspired others with his kindness and positivity. He was a true warrior in and out of the cage. Rest in peace, Corey Hill.