This week news out of Brazil revealed that veteran MMA fighter and coach Diego Braga had been killed. Multiple reports, including sources speaking with FanSided MMA, say that Braga ventured into the favelas to retrieve his stolen motorcycle.
Unfortunately, while there, he was killed by someone who mistook him for a member of a rival gang.
He was just 44 years old.
Braga is the father and head coach for Gabriel Braga, who competed in the 2023 PFL Finals. He's also known as a former coach of former UFC champion Anderson Silva.
Braga never fought in the UFC but he fought several UFC fighters on their way to the big show including Charles Oliveira, Milton Vieira, and Adriano Martins.
He last competed in 2019 at Future MMA 7, where he and his son shared the same fight card.
Several Brazilian fighters have posted their memories of Diego, including Silva.
"You, my friend Diego Braga, with your courage and kindness, never let yourself down by this scene," Silva wrote in Portuguese. "Always fought for a better future, believing in the strength of the community and the power of education. His vision of a safer and just Rio de Janeiro was the light guiding his actions. In the Thai troops.But this same violence that you fought so hard ended up taking your life, leaving a huge void in our hearts. Your absence is a painful reminder of how much we still need to fight to change the reality around us. His departure teaches us that every moment is precious and that we should keep fighting for the good, even in the most adverse circumstances. You, inspiring us to be better, fighting for a future in which violence does not dictate our destiny."
Oliveira also shared a message to the Braga family writing, "my condolences to the whole family.
Bellator champion, Patricio Pitbull also shared his memories of Diego.
"The MMA world loses a great name, @diegobraga13, a friend I've had the honor of training with for years, was cowardly murdered while searching for his stolen motorcycle in the early morning," he wrote on Instagram. "I wish those miserable people who took their lives pay dearly and in the worst way! Everyone knew the great man, athlete, family father, and today, a great trainer of champions, that you were. This is certainly a great loss for all who loved him and those who recognized him through great accomplishments in our sport. God comfort the hearts of his family and friends. My sincere condolences to your son, our champion @gabrielbragamma who will certainly carry his legacy forward.
Patricky Pitbull also shared his thoughts, "Very sad to receive this news, big brother I had in Rio de Janeiro and champion trainer, it was good to meet you brother, may God have you. Even far away we always exchanged ideas, always playful, unbelievable!There are still politicians who support bandits!! ️outragedAn athlete who now lived his dream to fight internationally through his son @gabrielbragamma had his life taken for trying to take his stolen motorcycle at his residence. May God rest him."
At press time Gabriel has not made a public statement on the passing of his father.