He did not start a popular clothing line, nor was he ever a UFC champ, but Michael Tome – known as “Snake” to most – definitely made his mark on the sport. And last night, a motorcycle accident in his hometown of Salamanca, N.Y., claimed the 40-year-old’s life.
Snake was passionate about MMA since its humble beginnings here in the States, and throughout the years he wore many hats. He was at times a promoter, a fight judge, a journalist, a sponsor of fighters, and as the owner of the Knockout Factory gym, he trained and coached anyone free of charge. He was also a fixture at UFC events, and was often seen rubbing shoulders with everyone from celebrities and VIPs to everyday fight fans.
I met Snake a decade ago, and was there in 2006 when he trained to become an official for what was then New Jersey’s budding amateur MMA program. We kept in touch, and when I wrote an article for Full Contact Fighter magazine about the sovereignty of Indian Reservations, he claimed it inspired him to explore the possibility of running fully-sanctioned shows on his own Upstate New York reservation.
Rest in peace, Snake. You will definitely be missed.