Local mixed martial arts figure Barry Meyer was remembered at a memorial service Friday after taking his own life Tuesday.
Meyer was president of Tuff-N-Uff, a Las Vegas-based MMA promotion that started putting on amateur fights in Nevada in 2003 and helped launch the careers of Ronda Rousey and Ryan Couture, among others. He was 42.
The memorial service “was very, very emotional. The amount of people and the outpouring was touching. It was so sweet for our parents,” said Tuff-N-Uff vice president Jeff Meyer, Barry’s brother. “I would like him to be remembered as a genuine, kind-hearted, sweet man whose dream it was for athletes to realize their dreams.”
Barry Meyer was known throughout the fight world, and the outpouring of support came from all over social media. In addition to founding and running Tuff-N-Uff, Barry Meyer had also been a part of Chuck Norris’ World Combat League and Bodog Fight. Meyer was a black belt in tae kwon do. He left a career as a hedge-fund trader to pursue his dream of working in mixed martial arts.
He recently had told his mother the reason he took up martial arts in the first place was to protect his little brother.
Jeff Meyer said Barry had dealt with depression for years. He believes his brother was working on a book called “Life is a Fight” at the time of his death.
The family hopes Barry’s suicide can serve as a lesson to anyone who has a family member dealing with depression.
“If you suspect anything, don’t wait until tomorrow,” Jeff Meyer said through tears.
UFC president Dana White spoke about Meyer’s death while in Houston for UFC 166 over the weekend.
“Anytime you hear something like that, it’s horrible and tragic,” White said. “He was a super nice guy. I’m not a big believer in amateur MMA, but he was a great guy and I really did like him. It’s really unfortunate.”
Jeff said he plans to keep the Tuff-N-Uff brand alive, with his father taking over as president.
“A lot of people have offered support and I’d like (Barry’s) legacy to live on,” Jeff Meyer said. “Hopefully it will be bigger and better in his honor.”
Barry Meyer was active in the community, having worked extensively with Shade Tree and the Candlelighters.
■ UFC ANNOUNCES HIV AWARENESS CAMPAIGN — The UFC has joined with the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada to roll out a major initiative aimed at increasing the awareness of HIV among young people.
According to the announcement made over the weekend, infection rates fell significantly in the 1990s with so much attention and media focus, but complacency has set in over the last 15 years and left those under 30 less informed about the realities of the disease.
The campaign, called “Protect Yourself at All Times,” features former UFC light heavyweight champion and Las Vegas resident Forrest Griffin and openly gay female fighter Liz Carmouche.
“As someone who grew up in the 1980s and saw the virus beaten back with education in the 1990s, I was stunned to learn from our friends at The Center that HIV is still having such a dramatic impact on young people,” UFC chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein said. “No other sport reaches the under-35 demographic like the UFC does, and the UFC felt a duty to try and do something about this situation.”
Griffin and Carmouche both appear on posters promoting the program.
“I had 15 fights in the UFC Octagon during my career, and before each and every one of them, I had a HIV test. I’m encouraging everybody to show themselves and their partners the same respect I showed my opponents by getting tested and protecting themselves at all times,” reads Griffin’s poster.
Carmouche’s poster bears the quote: “HIV stopped being a gay thing or a straight thing a long time ago. Unfortunately, it has become a young person thing, with almost half of new infections involving people under the age of 30. No matter how tough you are, Protect Yourself At All Times.”
■ UFC 166 LEAVES IMPRESSION — White called UFC 166 the “greatest night of fights” the UFC has had, and the event certainly left an impression on those in attendance. Dwight Howard was among several Houston Rockets players who watched from the front row.
“It was a great night. Great fights, sold out. I hope we see those same type of crowds when we start playing,” Howard told CSN Houston. “We all enjoyed it. The fans were great and it was a good time.”
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.