Robert Follis, who served as the head coach at Xtreme Couture and worked with countless other MMA champions, died last Friday. Myra Fukuno, his girlfriend, confirmed the news with a post on Facebook.
“Robert Follis, a man who has touched and changed so many lives, passed away on Dec. 15, 2017,” she wrote. “He was kind. He was loving. He was compassionate. Robert was an incredible teacher, who opened our minds and created a space where we knew learning was possible. He had a way of pulling the best out of us. He will be remembered as a beloved friend, brother, son, mentor, and coach by many.
“We may not be able to respond, but please know that we will sort through them as part of our healing process,” Fukuno wrote. “Thank you for your patience and understanding. Memorial service information will follow at a later time.”
Randy Couture, one of the founding members of Team Quest and Xtreme Couture, posted a heartfelt message on Instagram after receiving news of the passing.
As one of the founding members of Team Quest and Xtreme Couture MMA it is with great sorrow that we say good bye to Robert Follis. Robert was a friend, coach, mentor, and philosopher of martial arts to many of us. It is with a very heavy heart that I write this tribute to a man that touched so many. Death is like the sun. There is no escaping it. It infuses every part of our lives, but it doesn’t make sense to stare at it too long. That becomes a real challenge when someone you know, love, and respect ends their life. This is where Robert has been since his brothers passing a couple years ago and where we are left now. It is very easy to get caught up in the urgency that comes from the limited span of our lives. It can push us to obsess over life’s meaning in the time we have. But obsessing over it, and staring directly at it too long can blind us to the possibilities of living. Robert was a Hero to many. Heroes have the whole earth as their tomb . . . There is, enshrined in the chest of every person he touched, a record unwritten with no tablet to preserve it. It’s that which he imprinted on our hearts. What lives on is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what he has woven into the lives of others. Those who have lived with us become a part of us. We honor the dead by living their values. Through our efforts, we ensure that the good things they stood for continue to stand even when they are gone. Robert stood for many good things. Let’s let Our actions become a living memorial to Robert Follis. R
On Monday, MMA Fighting reported that Follis died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, as the Clark County (Nevada) Coroner ruled the death suicide. He was 48 years old at the time of his passing.
Many others offered up their thoughts on Follis:
Heart Broken to hear the news about Coach Robert Follis. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and the fighters he trained. I remember his voice during my pro debut as he coached against me, and how kind he was after the fight. He was a father/mentor to so many of his athletes. Coach Follis always made time to talk to me about his athletes and their development. The way he spoke about them was the way a parent boasts about their children. We lost a big piece of our MMA community. He was both a pioneer in the beginning of MMA and an innovator in today’s evolving sport. My heart is with Ed Herman, Ryan Schultz, Chris Leben, Meisha Tate, Tim Elliott, and so many other fighters who are devastated right now. We won’t forget you Coach Follis. RIP
— Dana White (@danawhite) December 17, 2017
I became good friends with Robert Follis throughout filming of TUF 25 I just stayed at his house last week I haven’t heard what happened can anyone fill me in? He was an awesome guy and the more I got to know him the more respect I had for him
— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) December 17, 2017
I just heard the news of Robert Follis' death.
I knew Robert from the beginning of his MMA career and transition to coaching. He has always been a kind and supportive person and I have enjoyed a long friendship with him
Heartbreaking. You will be missed my friend.
— Josh Barnett (@JoshLBarnett) December 17, 2017