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.

Local news sites have the details, but to get a grasp at the imprint the man left, check out the Underground Forum, where a steady outpouring of grief and accolades have been accumulating.  

Rest in peace, Snake.  You will definitely be missed.