MMA veteran Diego Braga, father of PFL finalist Gabriel Braga, killed in Brazil

The Brazilian MMA community mourns the death of Diego Braga. The 44-year-old MMA veteran was killed by organized crime in Rio de Janeiro, police officially confirmed Monday.

Braga revealed on his social media on Monday morning that he had his motorcycle stolen from his garage late Sunday night. According to witnesses, Braga decided to go to a favela looking for the vehicle, but was mistaken by members of criminal organization Comando Vermelho as a member of a rival militia. He was allegedly then killed.

Braga, the leader of Tropa Thai team in Rio de Janeiro and a martial arts instructor for underprivileged children in favelas, coached his son Gabriel Braga for his MMA bouts, leading the young prospect to the PFL featherweight finals in 2023. Gabriel lost a rematch to Jesus Pinedo in the $1 million finale.

Diego Braga was an active MMA fighter between 2003 and 2014, facing the likes of Charles Oliveira, Milton Vieira, and Adriano Martins, all of whom ended up competing in the UFC.

Braga coached legendary middleweight Anderson Silva for several of his final UFC bouts and shared a card with his son Gabriel at Future MMA 7 in 2019 in what would ultimately be his retirement bout. Father and son came out victorious that night, with Diego ending his career with an MMA record of 23-8-1, winning 16 of his last 19 appearances.

“My son has cornered me many times in the past,” Diego told MMA Fighting prior to the match, “so this is a dream come true for me. He inspired me to fight again.”

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