British MMA champion Jahreau Shepherd has tragically passed away at the age of 30.
Shepherd, who was welterweight champion with MMA promotion Contenders, is believed to have died suddenly on Saturday.
The cause of death is yet to be confirmed, with Contender confirming the untimely news on Instagram.
A statement posted to the social media site read: “Everyone at Contenders is absolutely devastated to hear of Jahreau Shepherd‘s death.
“Jay, our welterweight champion, was hugely talented and great fun to be around, a big personality with a huge smile and infectious laugh.
“Inside the cage, he was destined for the top – a champion in three different organisations with heavy hands and a warrior heart.
“Our thoughts are with all his family and friends at this terrible time. Rest in peace, champ.”
Tributes have flooded in for Shepherd from the MMA world following the devastating loss.
MMA commentator Michael Morgan was among those mourners, tweeting: “Absolutely shocked to hear the news this morning.
“A true gentleman inside and outside the cage. Rest in peace UK MMA’s Jahreau Shepherd.”
Film director Bobby Razak, who has a long-standing association with MMA, said: “RIP Jahreau Shepherd may your journey continue in bliss.”
Shepherd, who was previously on Cage Warriors’ books, also competed in Bellator, UCMMA and Fusion FC.
He overcome the challenge of Quinten de Vreught by unanimous decision in February at Contenders 29 to clinch the welterweight championship.
Nicknamed ‘The Nightmare’, Shepherd had a 6-2 record in professional MMA, which included five knockout victories.
The MMA UK Late show was cancelled on Sunday night in wake of the tragic news.