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Olympic wrestling champion Jeff Blatnick dead at 55

October 24, 2012|By Houston Mitchell
  • Jeff Blatnick, left, wrestles with Thomas Johansson of Sweden in the gold-medal match at the 1984 Olympics.
Jeff Blatnick, left, wrestles with Thomas Johansson of Sweden in the gold-medal… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

Olympic wrestling gold medalist and longtime MMA advocate Jeff Blatnick has died after complications from heart surgery.

Blatnick took home the gold in Greco-Roman wrestling in 1984 and was also a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, which remained home after President Carter announced a boycott of the Summer Olympics in Moscow because of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.

Blatnick was a commentator in the early days of UFC before being replaced after UFC 32 in June 2001.

Blatnick, who helped develop some of the rules of MMA still used today, became a licensed judge with the New Jersey State Athletic Commission.

At the time of his death, Blatnick was a varsity wrestling coach at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High in Glen Falls, N.Y.

You can read more about Blatnick and his instrumental role in the development of UFC's roles in this piece written by Todd Martin.

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