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Talented, troubled fighter Tyler East shot dead

Tyler East,  top , pounds on Prince McLean of Cincinnati in the Heavyweight 265 lbs. match during the MMA Fight Pit Genesis on Aug.13, 2011. East was shot dead during a domestic incident on Monday. (Journal File)

Tyler East, a talented but tormented wrestler and MMA fighter, was shot and killed Monday evening in his hometown of Los Lunas, police said. He was 30.

According to a New Mexico State Police news release, East died as the result of a domestic dispute. He was shot, police said, by a man who had witnessed him having shot East’s girlfriend. East was dragging the woman out of a Los Lunas residence, according to the report, when he was shot.

East was declared dead at the scene. The woman was taken to a hospital in Albuquerque, where she was treated for her injuries, police said, and was listed in stable condition. The man who allegedly shot East fled before police arrived.

The investigation remains open, police said.

From a young age, East’s life was a volatile mix of athletic success and brushes with the law. Violence off the mat or out of the cage often was his downfall.

He won his first of two New Mexico state heavyweight wrestling titles as a freshman for Los Lunas High School in 2006, the second while competing for Belen High School in 2008.

In 2009, he pleaded no contest to a charge of aggravated battery.

As an MMA fighter, East compiled a 15-6 record and won the King of the Cage heavyweight title in 2011. His older brother, Cody, won the same title two years later.

Tyler East had been idle in the cage since a loss by first-round knockout to Brian Heden on a Legacy FC card in October 2016.

East’s most recent court case, in 2019, involved charges of battery upon a peace officer and resisting arrest. Both charges were dropped.

From 2009 to 2019, there appear 22 listings for his name on the New Mexico courts website.

Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA, one of the gyms at which East trained, released the following statement:

“… Tyler East was not on our roster of fighters and was terminated from our training program many years ago. We pray for all those affected by (Monday’s) incident in Valencia County.”

His brother, Cody, posted the following on Facebook: “I love you Tyler East my little big brother. … No more demons to fight brother you’re free.”

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