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MMA pioneer Waldo Zapata, 46, passes away following cancer battle



Waldo Zapata

Waldo Zapata. Photo credit: Johnathon “SWEEP” Michael

Swedish UFC commentator, beloved MMA coach and BJJ master Waldo Zapata has passed away on Thursday November 3 after battling cancer for over two years. Zapata was 46 years old.

As one of Sweden’s pioneers within BJJ, Zapata receiving his black belt in 2006. The year after he won the European Championships. After training with some of the best athletes and instructors around the world, he founded SPR Athlete Factory and served as the gym’s Head Instructor of BJJ.

During the years, he coached several successful Swedish MMA fighters including Simon Sköld and Elin Öberg.

“Waldo Zapata was a pioneer and a true legend”

“Waldo Zapata was a pioneer and a true legend in the Swedish MMA community, as well as a respected BJJ master,” says Ashah Tafari, editor-in-chief of Frontkick. “He was a beloved coach with a very unique approach to the game. For me, what I’ll remember the most is probably how incredibly smart, well-spoken and eloquent he was as a commentator for the UFC’s Swedish broadcasts on Viaplay. He was simply a very influential man, his contributions to the sport he loved were huge and the Swedish martial arts community will remember his legacy for years to come.”

Waldo Zapata received Frontkick’s honorary award in 2020 for his longtime contributions to Swedish martial arts.

“A great fighter and an even bigger person has left us. Our friend and colleague, Walda Zapata has passed away.”
Waldo Zapato Viaplay MMA Frontkick

Our condolences go out to Waldo Zapata’s family and loved ones.