by Scott Petersen and The Friends of Ryan Bennett
In a world where becoming rich is attained in many different ways, if status and riches were defined by your family and friends, Ryan Bennett has to be one of the richest guys the world has ever seen. I’ve known Ryan for many years from back in our college days and he was one of the coolest guys I have ever known. Always the ringleader and stirring up fun. He had this infectious enthusiasm that transferred to others just from being around him, people gravitated towards Ryan.
He just enjoyed life and if you were around him, you would soon enjoy life more too. You see, Ryan didn’t have so many friends and a great relationship with his family just because he was charismatic, but because he gave something to you. He was very unselfish and just liked people. He loved to do many things like the radio show as a labor of love, as I watched him bounce from a guest on the show to checking out what the “whack pack” in the Live Fighter Chat was saying – everyone was important to Ryan.
It’s going to be hard to say good-bye to such a good friend. Many of us have a void left by Ryan’s absence. But, for me, I will miss that twinkle in his eye and that joy from just being around him. Here’s to you Ryan and maybe when I look up to the sky on a clear night and see a star sparkle, maybe that will be you smiling down on us. My friend. Our friend.
“I met Ryan a year ago in LA, when Fight Network was just getting ready to launch the channel up in Canada, the moment I began to talk with him I could sense right away I was meeting someone special, not just from the way he talked about his love for the fight game, but the way he carried himself, how he could make anyone feel like you had known him for years, that is how he made me feel and over the last year we got to know one another on more than just a business level, we talked about family which was so important to him, goals, dreams, plans, I like to think we became friends and I will truly miss Ryan but I will always cherish the time we spent together and the memories we created.”
Mike Garrow President, The Fight Network.
“Our prayers and thoughts go out to the entire Bennett family. Ryan had only been with us a short time, but the impression he left with the many people he touched in our organization I can honestly say will last a lifetime, his memory with never be forgotten here.”
Sandy Winick Chairman of The Fight Network
“It’s hard. I miss him. I talked to him all the time. He was a regular at The Pit. His daughters worked out at The Pit before they moved. I used to watch him on channel six, or KSBY. He was a great commentator, a great interviewer, a great personality, a great family man. It’s hard. I’m sure he’s going to be missed immensely. He is probably the most high profile people in Mixed Martial Arts today. It’s just a tragedy. It can’t be more a tragedy than that. You know? A great family guy with four kids, a great wife, still in his mid thirties. I mean he dies so tragically. It makes everything else look insignificant, unimportant. He was a friend of The Pit definitely. He was a good friend of mine, a good friend of Chuck’s, a good friend of Scott’s. He came into our gym all the time. It’s just not going to be the same. You know? I thought it was a tragedy when he left KSBY because I loved to watch him on action news, you know, “The Sport.” I thought that was a tragedy and then to hear he died is, I can’t put it into words. He’ll be sorely missed by The Pit.”
“Scott Adams and I started World Extreme Cagefighting about the same time Zuffa bought UFC in about 2001. It was an exciting time in the MMA industry, as none of us really knew what the next few years would bring.
I never forget the day Scott told me there was a sportscaster on the local NBC affiliate in San Luis Obispo who was actually doing stories about MMA and in particular, Chuck Liddell. What was unusual is that back in 2001 there was pretty much nobody in the mainstream media that would dare to do anything on what most thought was the “barbaric” sport of Mixed Martial Arts.
I remember meeting Ryan while he was at SLO Kickboxing doing a feature on this up and coming fighter known as the “Ice Man”. When first meeting Ryan, for some reason I thought his interest in fighting was based on the fact that he was a fighter as well. I remember asking him his style and he told me with a huge smile ‘keeping out of the way of guys like Chuck”… I mean, I liked him the minute I met him.
As the sport grew and Scott and I began doing shows, Ryan was always interested and loved talking to us about our cards and the different fighters and seemed to really have a pretty good handle on the industry. When talking to Dana White one time, I remember we talked about Ryan as UFC was looking for someone to do interviews and when I told Ryan they were looking and to send a tape, he was really excited. I know we all have those moments where you maybe help someone, and you do it just because, with nothing expected in return. With Ryan, it was that kind of thing. He was the kind of person who truly appreciated it when anyone would lend him a hand. And of course, he always made you proud, as his work was always top notch.
Scott and I eventually got a television deal with the High Definition network HDNet. HDNet asked that we use ex-UFC announcer and former Olympic Gold Medalist Jeff Blatnick to work the announce team, but left it up to us to add the other two members of the crew. You know, I don’t think we ever even discussed Ryan as he was a given. He was as good as they come, and more than that, had become a close friend and associate of Scott and I. The third member of the team we selected was Steven Quadros, “The Fight Professor” and we launched into what turned into a very successful relationship with HDNet.
The energy that Ryan brought to our events and our broadcast is hard to describe. I always said Ryan’s biggest strength was not his vast knowledge of the sport (which don’t get me wrong, he had) but the ability to make people feel good about watching our show. It’s hard to describe. Our show would open with what I would call (lovingly) “The Three Musketeers” standing in front of the cage, all with smiles from ear to ear and you just couldn’t help but feel the WEC was a fun event. Ryan was our anchor, Blatnick would talk about the fighters and techniques and Quadros would add his uncanny observations and takes on the fighters and it just worked. I never screened our events later and ever thought anything but satisfied… ohh, that is except when I called Ryan after a show that I watched about a week later. One of our fighters had been kicked in the groin and ended up vomiting… which Ryan and Quadros described in great detail and went on for like 5 minutes describing every last detail of the incident. I cornered Ryan and within minutes, we were both laughing hysterically as I imitated his play-by-play description of the fighter heaving outside the cage. Needless to say, I would have preferred a little less detail and he said… with his big smile, “got it, next time we’ll act like its not even happening”.
What a lot of fans don’t really understand is just how much work goes into putting on an event like ours. There are literally thousands of decisions that have to be made, and it can be a very stressful situation. The easy part is really when the show starts. It’s the days and weeks leading up to the event that will do you in. Ryan was always there. We would bounce ideas and fights off him and we always valued his input. I also have to say that one of the best parts about doing events for as long as we have is that when we would all meet for the production meeting, it was like a reunion of old friends. Ryan would always walk in, do his famous finger point at me and Scott and sit down and the jokes would start to fly. We had such a good time; I will miss that more then anything, the closeness that we all shared. Ryan, Stephan Quadros, Jeff Blatnick, Christian Printup (Event Manager for The Palace), Doug Gunzelman our wrangler, Ron Kruck, David Butler, Scott and I… we were like family.
Ryan would sometimes even bring his wife; park her in the restaurant while our production meeting went on. I used to ask him if she was his agent, as they were so, so close. He would smile and tell me that if I didn’t stop, I would have to negotiate his salary with her. He loved her so much, I was always so proud of him and his family. I would often call the house and I could hear the kids running and screaming in the background and tell Ryan, “would you please take care of those kids” and he would laugh and tell me everything was under control.
Today, I went down to the room where I store all the shows and pulled up a couple off the hard drive to try to help me write this for MMAWeekly. I watched about five minutes and in listening to Ryan I thought about his life, his family and the person I knew, a person who really lived the kind of life that we all strive for, honesty, integrity, love of friends and an absolute love of his family and faith… and I started to cry… I will miss him more then words can describe.
Goodbye my dear friend Ryan, we are all better people for having known you and we loved you and will miss you so, so much.”
Vice President, World Extreme Cagefighting
“Ryan was not only a fantastic person who had a way of making everyone around him feel great, but he was a one of a kind broadcaster as well. He could anchor, report, host and do play by play at a very high level. Clearly he could have worked on network television doing a variety of sports but he chose to follow his passion for MMA. As the face and voice of our channel he is irreplaceable.”
Brian Sobie, VP Programming & Production, TheFightNetwork
“Ryan was a great guy and he truly loved mixed martial arts. I listened to his show regularly and it was always fun when I was a guest. We spoke on the phone quite often or through e-mail. We would get into heated debates all of the time but they always ended with us laughing and on good terms. Ryan was a friend and I will miss him terribly and my condolences go out to his family.”
UFC Vice President of Talent Relations
“I really don’t know what to say. I was in shock when I found out as I am now, really. He was a great guy. I’ve known him for a long time. I hope his kids and wife are doing better. I’m not sure what happened. We’re doing some things in town. And some other guys are putting some things together to try and help out the family that way. People are trying to support them. He was a great guy. I just don’t know what to say.”
UFC Light Heavyweight Champion
“Ryan was more than a great journalist. He was a great motivator and friend. He always looked at the positive things that people did instead of dealing on their mistakes. I can’t tell you the number of times I hung up the phone and I was excited to go to the gym and train hard. Ryan had an impact in my life, as I’m sure he did in many people’s lives. I wish his family the best. I pray to God to be with them in their time of need right now. Heaven has just acquired a good man. He will be missed, loved, and remembered always.”
It is often said that everything happens for a reason.
But in times like this, it is a difficult statement for the friends and family of Ryan Bennett to believe.
I spent a lot of late nights talking with Ryan about MMA, sports in general and family. We shared the same passion for MMA and sports in general, but our conversation always turned to family and how we tried to balance our time between our loved ones and our sport. He got excited when I told him my son was doing well in basketball or wrestling.
Ryan was a devoted family man and a truly good person. He didn’t waste time on negative issues… he always had a positive attitude and believed that MMA was going to make it huge. He was passionate about things and wanted to help the sport… and he did.
My sincerest sympathies go out to his wife, Tonya, and their four children. They should know that there is a big support team of Ryan fans out here who are praying for the them and wish them the best.
Monte Cox (fight promoter/manager)
“I have known Ryan a long time and he was a great guy. Ryan is one of the Top 5 people responsible for building MMA. He was always supportive of me and the sport. He will be greatly missed. My prayers are with his family.”
Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion
“Ryan, thank you so much for your compassion and work you have put into the MMA community. I was a true admirer and fan of yours. MMAWEEKLY.COM was like the daily newspaper for me. Many times you have taken the time to respond to my emails without hesitation and I have always truly respected you for that. You were never too busy for the fans and a true catalyst for this great sport. As I sit here with a tear in my eye, I wish all the best for your family and hope that life will provide them with the comfort they need. My heart and prayers go out for you and your family.”
Realtor & MMA Fan
“Ryan Bennett was very important to the MMA community and will be missed by many. He was the only guy that I would get up early in the morning to do interviews with for the radio show. I’d get up early for Ryan Bennett any day. He always made me laugh. He was real cool, relaxed and always knew how to talk to you. He was an excellent commentator and he was all around good for the sport. He’ll be greatly missed.”
Light Heavyweight Contender
“I got to know Ryan through our time at UFC together, me as a fighter and him as an interviewer. The first thing that got us talking though was we were both big marks for pro wrestling. It was the first thing we ever sat down and really spoke about. A bit ironic in some ways but pro wrestling formed a bond between us in the midst of being a part of the UFC.
Always the kind of guy to meet you with a smile on his face and handshake. We got to know one another more as we continued to work together at UFC and later with MMA Weekly. He always had the time to talk. Which I suppose is fitting because after the UFC he went to MMA reporting and his radio show with MMA Weekly. He had a lot to say but also, enjoyed hashing it out with folks and basking in the back and forth atmosphere of conversation. I made his show on numerous occasions and even then we always ended up talking pro wrestling.
Ryan was a part of the fabric of the US MMA scene and while his physical influence is gone he will continue to fuel this community with his work. MMA Weekly is Ryan Bennett and will be doing his work while Ryan starts on his new journey.”
Multi-time Heavyweight Champion
Everyone at FEG and K-1 was saddened by the news of Ryan’s passing. He was very well thought of by everyone in K-1 who worked with him and even those who met him for the first time could instantly recognize his passion for the sport. For the past week or so, I have heard so many different stories about what a great guy and warm person he was and how terribly he will be missed. He was an excellent commentator and though he had to deal with some tough circumstances, like when Peter Aerts had to suddenly leave the commentator booth to take on Ernesto Hoost, he took it all in stride and never broke a sweat. He was a true professional and he will always be remembered for his big heart.
All our thoughts are with you in this difficult time.
“This is a huge loss for the MMA community. Ryan Bennett was one of the staunchest supporters of the sport over the years, and more importantly, he was a good man and someone who truly loved his family. We’re all devastated by this tragedy.”
Rumble World Entertainment & the Penn family extends their sincerest condolences to the Bennett family.
“I met Ryan Bennett at UFC 33. He was very excited to be part of the UFC team and did a wonderful job doing post fight interviews. It was there that we began a friendship that would include catching up at nearly every UFC up to the past several months until the Internet media ban took effect. We talked sometimes at length or briefly depending upon work schedules. Later Bennett founded the top MMA site in the world, which is now MMA Weekly.com. It was just two weeks ago that Ryan made the call and asked if I could fill in on the broadcast there to which in nearly every case I would agree. Having worked with the great individuals at MMA weekly and becoming friends with the likes of Frank Trigg, Scott Peterson, Ken Pishna, Mick Hammond, Tim Spagnola and others was and is a direct result of my first conversation with Ryan Bennett. The entire staff of Martial Arts Radio would like to extend our sincere thoughts and prayers to the Ryan Bennett family. A great voice in the broadcast industry and especially mixed martial arts has suffered a loss that will be felt by thousands around the world for many years to come. To my friend and colleague, rest in peace Ryan Bennett.”
Owner, MartialArtsRadio.com and Guest Host of MMAWeekly Radio
“When Mick told me the news that Ryan had died, I was shocked. This is very sad news for me and all who knew Ryan. I cannot say I knew Ryan very well, but I did work with him on a few occasions and I was very familiar with his work. Ryan always carried himself in a professional manner. He was honest, yet he never said anything bad about anyone. I am sure everyone who came across Ryan liked him. When I first met Ryan, I was fighting in California for an IFC title. I knew then that Ryan was a good guy. I was very young and nervous and looking back, I said some goofy things. Ryan was very professional and helped me along in the interview process and from then on I liked him. Every time I saw him I would remember how nicely he treated me and how good he was at his job. He was one of the best if not the best!! I pray for Ryan’s family that they continue to heal and come out of this ok. I pray for his wife and children that they find stability without Ryan and realize that death is temporary; they will all see Ryan soon. I cannot imagine my wife and daughter having to go through this sort of thing and it makes me tear up to think about it. I don’t really know what else to say. I am very sorry for their loss.”
UFC Middleweight Contender
It has taken me a few days to gather my thoughts. As I, like many others have lost a family member. It has been a pleasure working with Ryan over the past few years and an honor to call him a friend. From the time we spent together at the Super Bowl. walking around London and just a few weeks ago at the Dodger game to the radio wars we would have while broadcasting from the media center at many UFC events.
When I returned to cover the UFC after Zuffa took over, I received the cold shoulder from many in the media room and in the arena. Ryan Bennett was never like that! The first time we had talked, it was like we grew up together. I would look forward to my broadcast at every event because I knew Ryan and his gang would be right next to me.
Soundoff would run the show over its time to see if they could get more guests on or as I liked to say to see if my guests would go to them first. More times than not, they would! Looking back at it, it never bothered me.
I remember calling Ryan for his segment on my show every week and he would say I only have five minutes today. Twenty-five or thirty minutes later I would thank him for his time and tell him I would call him later, That was Ryan Bennett. Ryan would tell me about sponsors or fighters to call to interview, that is just not done. He always wanted to help me and that I will never forget.
I could go on about my friend Ryan Bennett but I will keep some of the stories for later. Ryan was much younger than me and If I can grow up to be half the man Ryan was, well what a man that would be.
Talking Sports Radio Network
“Wednesday night a family and the world of mixed martial arts experienced a tremendous and shocking loss that will be felt for many years to come. Ryan Bennett died tragically in an auto accident while driving with his family in Utah… he was 35 years old.
I am still in shock as I write this as it was only a few weeks ago that Ryan and I were sitting together at the commentators table at the “Rumble on the Rock 6″ in Hawaii, where he was the host and commentator for the evening… one of many positions Ryan held in the world of MMA as he was one of the strongest supporters, reporters and proponents of the UFC and the world of mixed martial arts with whom I have ever had the honor to be associated.
Ryan was also a good friend and coworker of mine over the past years and one of the finest people I have ever met in the 12+ years I have been working with the UFC and the MMA world. He is a man I have always respected for his friendship, work ethic, determination to promote MMA and most of all, he was a great family man and father who loved his family dearly.
Ryan will always be remembered by me for his great positive attitude, the laughs we shared and the many events in which we worked together over the years while watching MMA grow to receive the respect it deserves from the mainstream sports world.
Ryan, if you can hear me… I sincerely send my condolences to your family and friends and I want to thank you for your friendship and for all you did for the MMA world. You never asked for anything and only unselfishly supported those around you. You were a very special man and your spirit will live on forever. I am sending all my prayers and best wishes to your family and I will truly miss you my friend… as your friendship, your smile and your professionalism will be always be in my thoughts.”
The Voice of the Octagon
“Oh my god, I am so sorry. I just worked with the Ryan at Strike Force and Rumble on the Rock. I’m so upset and feel sick. All I can say is Ryan was always a good guy to me in person. He was great to work with and he helped me out a lot with my commentating. We had some great interviews together in the UFC and on his radio show. He was a real nice guy and a pleasure to work with. I’m so sorry for his family and friends. I hope he is in a better place. Again I’m so sorry for his family I wish them the best, if I can help in anyway when I get back let me know. We will miss you Ryan, you were a big part of where MMA is today.”
Pride Welterweight Contender
“In the competitive business of television broadcasting, it isn’t too often you meet people like Ryan Bennett. His knowledge of mixed martial arts and the excitement he brought to every event was unparalleled, but it was his genuine, considerate personality that will always have an impact on me.
Having covered almost every mainstream sport in my career, the WEC and Cagefighting was new territory for me. HDNet’s first broadcast of the WEC was in 2004 and Ryan took the time to answer all my questions and make sure I felt comfortable with the broadcast team of Jeff Blatnik, Stephen Quadros and himself. From that moment I knew Ryan was a class act. I feel honored to have had the privilege of working with such a consummate professional.
But it was his sense of humor I will miss the most. From him calling me the “Caucasian Sensation” on one broadcast to prank phone calls in my hotel at 1 am, Ryan could joke around with the best of them.
I know our programs will never be the same without Ryan and that first show without “our anchor” will be the toughest of my broadcasting career. I will miss you my friend and colleague, but will always cherish the time we spent together. Your love for your family, faith and friends is an inspiration.”
“Ryan had such passion for the sport and did so much to help it grow. He will be missed by many. Ryan was a good friend of mine as he was to many of the fighters. All Ryan ever had to do was ask and any of the fighters would gladly do and interview or adjust our morning schedule to join him on the radio show, just because he asked. These are the things you do for friends and people you respect and Ryan was both of these, a friend and a well-respected man. “Hit Man” you are missed by many my friend.
To Ryan’s Family, Tonya, Jada, Allison, Ashley, and Braden… My thoughts and prayers go out to you.”
With Love and Sympathy,
Matt “The Law” Lindland
“Although Ryan will be missed tremendously, he will always be remembered in the world of MMA as an influential reporter for MMA and an even greater man to those who knew him. The PRIDE staff would like to thank him for all that he has done for the sport and would like to send our deepest condolences to his loved ones. He is survived by his wife and four children and they need your support to get through this tragic time.”
Pride FC Staff
“We were just talking about Tanya, the kids, his new job and their new home in Utah at UFC 60 when we met up and he was ultra happy with life! All of his years of hard work and enthusiasm for this industry was finally paying off and Ryan took great pride in what he had accomplished for “a 35 year-old kid.”
He was soooo looking forward to having some weekends off so he could enjoy the many fruits of his labor and the fact he will not get to do any of that now breaks my heart. Ryan deserved a great return on the investment he made in this life because had worked so hard to “get it right” the first time and not everyone can say that.
Pardon the cliché “the world was a better place because he was in it,” but it is true. I am not saying Ryan was perfect because none of us are… but without hesitation I am saying most others pale in comparison to him and I will challenge anyone who wishes to debate that fact!
I have absolutely no words to offer your family in an attempt to make this tragedy seem less devastating or to instill the belief there is some higher purpose and Ryan was needed elsewhere because I would be lying through my fingertips. Ryan was needed HERE more than anywhere else I can think of and the manner in which he left was absolutely horrible and the seconds leading up to his departure were filled with screams instead of laughter. He deserved better than that.
Ryan and Tonya should have grown old together as a testament of their love for one another, and their new home should have been blessed with endless happiness and the laughter of grandchildren and great grandchildren in the years to come. THAT is what I think Ryan earned as well as deserved.
My hope for his entire family and extended family of friends and colleagues is that your memories of Ryan will remain with you forever, unchanged by time and the space between you now. Just know that Ryan was loved and respected by countless people you may never meet, many of which he himself never even laid eyes on because it was his voice alone that formed the bond and bridged the gap between him and his listeners. Ryan truly mattered to a lot of people and he made sure they knew how much he appreciated their support.”
“Rest in Peace, Ryan Bennett. You will be missed.”
“Our prayers and blessings are with the Bennett family at this terrible hour in their lives. This is a great loss to the MMA community. And, the loss of a great friend to many. Please keep Ryan’s family in your prayers. Lockflow.com offers it’s deepest condolences to the Bennett family.”
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Bennett family. Ryan was very well liked and respected by all his peers and this is a great loss to the MMA community.”
“Ryan commentated all of my WEC fights and from that we became friends. He has stayed in touch with me throughout my career and often had me on his radio show at MMAWEEKLY.com. He is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet and he is always smiling and saying good things about people. It is so sad to think that I will not be able to talk to him ever again. This makes you reconsider taking life for granted. You never know when tragedy will arrive.”
UFC Middleweight Contender
“I wish to express my deepest condolences and best wishes to the Bennett family during this horrible time.”
Pro Wrestling Insider
“I want to wish my best to Ryan Bennett who passed away. I admired his work and he was a real professional in the game and respected by all fighters. Not only did he know the sport, but he knew how to talk to the fighters. I think he was the best guy out there doing what he did. We’re going to miss him and it’s going to be hard to fill his spot. I’ll remember him forever and thanks for what he’s done.”
WEC Lightweight Champion
“The entire mixed martial arts community has lost a great friend. We offer our deepest condolences to Ryan Bennett’s family and friends.”
“One thing that really stuck out for me [about Ryan] was the fact that he asked me how to pronounce my name in “Korean” and was the only non-Korean to pronounce my name like a real Korean would. My name in English is Arnold “LIM”, the last name in Korean is pronounced “EEM” and that is exactly what he called me. I think it started off as fun, but it really exemplified the type of person he was, he went out of his way to make others around him feel comfortable and it was no different for me.
Ryan Bennett was many things to many people; he was a staunch MMA supporter and enthusiast. He was a friend to many in the MMA world including myself, but more importantly he was a family man, a husband, a son, and a father of four children. His children will never see him again and that is the saddest part in all of this. My condolences go out to his family, his wife Tonya, his four children, and of course Scott Peterson and the rest of the MMAWeekly team.
To Ryan, it was an honor to know you as a peer, and more then anything it was an honor to call you a friend. I will miss you, and always remember your lasting contribution to the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Some people don’t believe in heaven, but I do, and I know you did too. I believe that is where you are now, and hopefully I will see you there in time my friend, good bye for now.”
To Ryan’s family,
I was deeply saddened upon hearing the news of Ryan’s passing. Although knowing him a brief time, he expressed patience and passion in helping me try to do what I felt was impossible but what he seemed to do so effortlessly.
The qualities of this gentleman are surely the qualities that a very special husband and father make.
My very deepest sympathy,
Guitarist, Poison/ Surreal Life
“Our prayers and blessings are with the Bennett family at this terrible hour in their lives. This is a great loss to the MMA community. And, the loss of a great friend to many. Please keep Ryan’s family in your prayers.”
Ground N Pound.org
“Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Ryan Bennett. Ryan was a long time supporter of the sport as both a broadcaster and founder of www.MMAWeekly.com. Prayers to his family at this tragic time.”
“All of us at Icemanmma.com would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the Bennett family. Ryan’s enthusiasm and passion for MMA will be missed.”
“I will always remember Ryan Bennett as a consummate professional and the man, which brought legitimacy to the broadcast commentary in our sport. When I first got involved in the commentary aspect of this industry, I looked for someone to be my role model, my mentor and someone to fashion my professional presence after. Ryan Bennett was the one person that stood out and delivered every component of what I perceived to be a talented, professional broadcaster. I often went to Ryan for advice and counseling, when I was getting knocked around in the industry for being a girl. Ryan always supported me and welcomed my insight into the fight world. Days before the accident Ryan had the opportunity to see my first show with the IFL. He sent me a message to congratulate me on a job well done and to let me know that he felt I had a job for life in this industry. I will always remember how proud it made me feel inside to have “Ryan Bennett” the man I admired bestow me with such a compliment. I will truly miss seeing his smiling face at MMA events and I will never forget the inspirational words he shared with me over the years. Ryan’s passion and knowledge for this sport, his professionalism, his kindness and his ability to deliver the story will be sadly missed. He was a great broadcaster and truly a genuine friend.”
“The last time I saw Ryan was at UFC 59 in Anaheim. He told me how excited he was move back to Utah, close to family. He had just built a home in Ogden and was thrilled about raising his kids there. You could just see the contentment in his face.
My sincerest condolences go out to the Bennett family as well as his extended family at MMAWeekly, most notably Scotty and Trigg; I know how close both of you guys were with Ryan. Our small brotherhood has lost a giant piece of its heart and your pain is shared by all of us who knew Ryan.
Let’s all keep Ryan’s wife Tonya and his kids — Allison, Jada, Ashley and Braden — in our thoughts during these trying times. The MMA community has never failed to rally around its own and I am sure it will come through once again for our fallen comrade and his family.
Tragedies like these always remind us to hold the ones we keep close to our hearts a little closer and realize how fragile our existence is. With that in mind, I bid adieu to you my friend.
Rest in peace my friend knowing your life touched so many and that I, for one, will always remember you with your microphone in hand wearing that smile that always said everything that needed to be said.”
Was my friend for many years in Mixed Martial Arts, we both came up together under the IFC & Warriors Challenge fight promotion in the 1996-98 shows under the direction of Mike Thomas, Howard Petchler, Paul Smith & Myself. Ryan to me was a very good sports commentator who saw that MMA was going to be big before 95% of the people who currently work in the Industry at the (A) level shows Internationally. Ryan was my favorite to work with,I have done more shows with Ryan than any other Cage Announcer in the MMA Industry having worked together with the IFC, WEC, AND Warriors Challenge shows starting ten years ago.
When I walked into the cage @ Extreme Wars “Bay Area Brawl”6/3/06 and looked over at Jeff Blatnick & Frank Shamrock and started the first Ryan Bennett tribute in the MMA Industry, the words just came to me so easy, i had nothing written but the thoughts just flowed so naturally, i think Jeff Blatnick was really feeling Ryan right then, we all were. Ryan demonstrated his dedication to honesty in MMA when he broke the Severn vs Ritch work in Hawaii and Ryan had the wisdom to let the great MMA fans of the world decide who was telling the truth in this MMA controversy for the ages.
Even though Ryan was the opposite of me in most regards he was Conservative i am very Liberal we really got along well on the subject of sports, MMA & family, I will really miss Ryan for his great contributions to MMA, Sports Journalism, and most recently the Boxing play by play for the Oscar Dey La Hoya fight in Las Vegas.
Ryan worked very hard on his craft of Play By Play in full contact fight sports and his work ethic was legendary. The whole industry of MMA should support the WEC & The Tachi Yocut Tribe & it’s efforts to help Ryan’s wife & children with their benefit show coming up in JULY, a class move for a class guy.
HDNET will cover this great tribute, make sure to tune in and support Ryans family. The sport of MMA & It’s fans should unite to help Ryans Wife & Children in their Ultimate time of need!
My positive energy also goes out to Frank Trigg who truly was a great friend & business associate to RYAN!
RIP Ryan, a truly great sportsman!
Jeff Weller / Voice of the Cage, Ring announcer