The mixed martial arts community was shocked on Sunday, waking up to news that longtime coach and trainer Robert Follis had passed away.
While speculation ran rampant on Sunday, Follis' girlfriend Myra Fukuno confirmed his death, posting on Facebook, “Robert Follis, a man who has touched and changed so many lives, passed away on Dec. 15, 2017. Please know that the Follis Family will need considerable time. We would like to request peace and privacy at this time.”
After having struggled with the suicide of one of his brothers for some time, there has been much speculation that Follis ended his own life. While Fukuno's post did not confirm this, and Las Vegas authorities were unable to confirm as much on Sunday, longtime friend Randy Couture seemed to be saying as much in his tribute to 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,” wrote Couture.
“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 brother's 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.”
Follis has been in the mixed martial arts industry for many years. He was a part of Team Quest, which housed many of the biggest names in the sport, including Couture, Matt Lindland, Chael Sonnen, Chris Leben, Dan Henderson, Evan Tanner, Ed Herman, Nate Quarry, and numerous others.
He was more recently a coach at Xtreme Couture, working alongside fighters such as Miesha Tate during her championship run and lightweight contender Kevin Lee.
Follis recently left Xtreme Couture after four years to pursue other interests after apparent differences with gym management. He remained a personal coach to several of the gym's fighters.
Robert Follis, a man who has touched and changed so many lives, passed away on Dec. 15, 2017. He was kind. He was…
Robert Follis' Final Interview with MMAWeekly.com