Charles Rowan competed on the regional MMA circuit, and was expected to fight for a promotion in Michigan recently. However, promoters Christos Piliafas and Scott DiPonio were informed he died in a car crash on his way to a bout.
The two helped to raise more than $1,000 to pay for the costs of the funeral, only to find out that Rowan and his girlfriend – who made the call about the car accident – were being charged with armed robbery and assault with intent to murder.
DiPonio told the Associated Press that he decided to look into the death hoax after seeing Rowan’s mug shot on television.
“I almost passed out,” he said. “It was literally that bad. My girlfriend looked at me and immediately just started crying. I was in disbelief. It took me literally an hour until I could actually focus and think again. It was just unbelievable.”
Piliafas runs the Caged Aggression promotion. He said he was “sick to my stomach. I was furious. I was livid.”
The promoters offered up money on the spot to help following news of the death, and eventually raised $1,350 to give to a friend, Michael Bowman, who was also charged.