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UFC Veteran Sherman Pendergarst Passes Away After Battling Cancer

Paul Fladten
20 July 2012
UFC Veteran Sherman Pendergarst Passes Away After Battling C...

The mixed martial arts community lost a good one today as Sherman Pendergarst passed away following a battle with cancer.

Taken far too early, "The Tank" fearlessly battled cancer until the end, much like he did in his lengthy fight career. There was never a foe too imposing or too high profile for Pendergarst.

The Miletich Fighting Systems competitor spent time within a number of national organizations such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Bellator Fighting Championships as well as within local promotions like the North American Fighting Championship and the Xtreme Fighting Organization.

It was a career of ups-and-downs for "The Tank" who made his pro debut back in 2005 with a first round submission victory over Chris Dippolito at Reality Fighting 8. At one point Pendergarst put together a record of 9-4 before hitting the proverbial wall in 2008.

Following a loss to Antoni Hardonk in his lone appearance within the UFC, Pendergarst went 3-14 to finish out his fighting career. But nearly every single opponent "The Tank" went up against near the end of his career would later become a household name. His list of opponents included Shane Carwin, Joey Beltran, Houston Alexander, Abe Wagner, Tim Hague, Razak Al-Hassan and more.

Through the end Pendergarst showed his warrior spirit never losing faith. Back in May, "The Tank" wrote this message to all of his family and friends:

"I wanted to write this for all of my friends, family and fans. This is to give you an update of what has been going in my life. First, I want to thank EVERYONE that has written to me, stopped to see me in the hospital, called me or given me their prayers. Without all of your support I don't know if some days I would... make it through. Your continued encouragement makes every day brighter for me.

After receiving chemo and radiation last year for the rectal cancer it has returned, and quite frankly did not go away. I also now have colon cancer. I have spent quite a bit of time at the University of Iowa of late and they have taken very good care of me. I can tell you that I am now back home and so happy to be here. I am receiving chemo again and am on the road to recovery! There are wonderful nurses that come in weekly to my house to help me with a number of things. I am grateful for their help and attention!

I will be coming to the gym periodically to work out and also to get out of the house! Ha, Ha. Please contact me anytime by email or FB, I love hearing from you.

I have a very strong faith in God and all the good that comes from my life and I believe I will beat this thing. Thank you to all of you always.


Since his recent passing a number of Pendergarst's friends and acquaintances have written messages explaining just how much of a friend he truly was.

Tim Sylvia: One of my best friends and long time training partners just passed due to a long fight w cancer Sherman the tank pendergarst UFC vet. RIP

Pat Miletich: Sherman Pendergarst passed away from his battle with cancer. Anyone who knew his spirit knows it's traveling north now. Love ya buddy

Duke Roufus: Double Bad News Day-UFC Vet @patmiletich Fighter Sherman Pendergarst died of cancer today & the Colorado shootings. Make everyday count! #fb

Mauro Ranallo: RIP former UFC fighter Sherman Pendergarst.Thoughts are with his family & friends.

Michael Schiavello: @patmiletich very sad, RIP Sherman Pendergarst.

US Combat Sports would like to send its condolences to all the friends and family members of Sherman. He was truly an inspirational human being that will forever be missed. Rest peacefully champ.

UPDATE: This touching message was released from Sherman's Facebook account earlier this morning:

For those that knew and loved Sherman we are sorry to say that he passed away peacefully this morning. He was a gentle giant ...The Tank.. That was known, admired and loved by so many near and far. He was a strong man that cared for others first always before himself. He worked hard his entire life but never expected anything from anyone in return. He came to Miletich Fighting Systems after having quit his job as a mortgage broker because he wanted to be a fighter! The first time he sparred he got knocked down but they could not keep him down. He kept at it because being a fighter was his dream. He was a true warrior he fought to live and lived to fight. He appreciated all the words of encouragement and support these last couple years as he was fighting his greatest battle of all. Don't ever lose the FAITH! Rest in peace Sherman you truly truly will be missed by all.

Last Modified:
20 July 2012

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