According to those that knew him, William Joplin never was a quitter.
From beginning to end, Joplin was a fighter. Seven months after he made his promotional debut against Juan Archuleta at Bellator 195, Joplin was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August 2018. At the time of diagnosis, Joplin’s cancer was already aggressive and had metastasized into other organs.
According to the Go Fund Me set up in his name, Joplin died Tuesday morning after a 13-month battle with the disease. He was 41.
A professional fighter since 2010, Joplin had 33 MMA bouts. He earned the nickname “The Armadillo” from his ability to defend opponents’ offense until they tired themselves out.
Originally from Kansas City, Mo., Joplin most recently resided in Lee’s Summit, Mo. The 5-foot-7 bantamweight was a beloved member of Glory MMA & Fitness and trained alongside the likes of James Krause, Tim Elliott, Zak Cummings, Grant Dawson and other MMA notables.
The void left by Joplin’s death is felt strongly in the Missouri MMA community. A number of Joplin’s friends and training partners took time Tuesday to express how much he meant to them.
UFC welterweight James Krause (via MMA Junkie): “In terms of fighting, he was one of the most durable and hardest-working fighters I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching. Outside of the cage, he was one of the most caring people I’ve ever met. He’d give you the shirt off his own back. His life revolved around the sport and community of MMA. It’s all he wanted to do. A lot of people say that, but he’s one of the few people who really live it. He’ll be missed by us all. The MMA community lost a good dude.”
UFC middleweight Zak Cummings (via MMA Junkie): “The day I started this sport, the Armadillo was already a stable name amongst the Midwest MMA scene. I moved to Kansas City a few years later and I met the man that Will Joplin was. He absolutely blew me away by how passionate he was about this sport, it was his life. He was the most supportive teammate you could possibly find and one of the toughest warriors in the game. As tough as Dillo was, he was an incredible friend to many. He was one of the last of a dying breed and will never be forgotten in the Midwest MMA Community.”
UFC featherweight Grant Dawson (via MMA Junkie): “MMA was Joplin’s life. Out of everyone I’ve ever met, he was one of the only people who loved the sport as much as I do. I respect him so much for his toughness and willingness to win. The man never tapped in competition in his entire career.”
Welterweight fighter Jason Witt (via MMA Junkie): “Joplin was a gritty, durable machine inside the cage and a loving, supportive friend on the outside. He was always down for a road trip to a fight, ready to spar in the gym, and there to text or call when you need him. He was a stubborn, cranky warrior and a selfless friend. He will be truly missed by many.”
Shamrock FC owner Jesse Finney (via MMA Junkie): “William Joplin is a fighter in every sense of the word. He was also our dear friend and a larger-than-life figure in our MMA community. He is missed greatly already and we send our sincere condolences to his family, friends and fans. If you look up fighter in the dictionary, there should be a photo of our friend Will, and we’re all better for having known him.”
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William Joplin is the true definition of durability. This is why his nickname is Armadillo. I've had the honor to train beside him since 2016. His style of fighting corresponds with his lifestyle. He gets hit and keep coming forward. I got a chance to get to know him more off the mats and hear some crazy things he's faced in life. We made it a thing to always go for breakfast after practice everyday and just share our vision and upbringings. Joplin was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer Aug 2018. June 15th of 2019 he captured the 160 pound UCL jiu jitsu championship. His drive to train everyday and stay competitive is inspiring and it made my problems minor compared to what he was going through. Your name will live on brother and im glad I got to spend some of your final days with you. Love you Jop R.I.P #mma #Bellator #Armadillo #glorymma #kansascity #legendary #midwestmma
Those who want to donate to William Joplin’s Memorial Fund can do so through his Go Fund Me page.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: MMA community mourns death of former Bellator fighter William Joplin