Jeff Blatnick, an Olympic gold medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling, died on Wednesday. He was 55 years old.
Blatnick passed away from complications following heart surgery.
Along with being a world-class wrestler, Blatnick was also a former UFC commentator, and a licensed judge and MMA referee in New Jersey.
The UFC issued a statement on his passing:
The UFC sends its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of former commentator and judge Jeff Blatnick, who passed away Wednesday after complications following heart surgery. A 1984 Olympic Gold medal winner in Greco-Roman wrestling AFTER battling cancer, Blatnick was a pioneering force in mixed martial arts who introduced countless people to the sport as a UFC commentator from UFC 4 through 32. Blatnick also worked closely with athletic commissions regarding the sport he loved, and he would later serve as an MMA judge, even working several UFC events.
Blatnick competed for Springfield College, earning two NCAA Div. II heavyweight titles. In 1982, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and had both his spleen and appendix removed. Just two years later, Blatnick stormed through the field to win gold in Los Angeles, joining teammate Steve Fraser as the first Americans to win Greco-Roman wrestling gold at the Olympics.