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Friends mourn death of MMA trainer, 37

London’s Adrenaline Training Center was quiet and dark yesterday afternoon.

London’s Adrenaline Training Center was quiet and dark yesterday afternoon.

The gym, usually a busy hub of MMA training, reflected the mood of Shawn Tompkins’ friends.

“None of us really want to be here, man,” manager Alex Gasson told someone who came to train.

“We’re all trying to wrap our heads around (Tompkins’ death),” Gasson said later.

Media reports yesterday said Tompkins — a highly regarded MMA trainer and London native — died of a heart attack. The 37-year-old was found dead Sunday morning in Hamilton.

Gasson said he had known Tompkins for about 15 years.

The pair trained, fought, lived and travelled together over the years.

For him, the cause of Tompkins’ death wasn’t important.

“What makes it hard is that he died,” Gasson said. “I don’t care how he died.”

Tompkins was more than a fighter and trainer, Gasson said. Aside from giving multitudes a chance to build MMA careers, Tompkins was role model outside the ring — teaching anti-bullying seminars and self-defence classes for women.

“He’s done more for communities than people can imagine,” Gasson said. “What he accomplished in a month is more than what some people do in a lifetime.”

Adrenaline Training Center, at 1794 Dundas St., will be closed for the rest of the week. The gym’s owners and most head instructors trained with Tompkins, nicknamed “The Coach.”

 
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