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Steve Cofield

Christmas tragedy in the world of MMA

Steve Cofield

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The awful stories are coming in bunches for the mixed martial arts world. Justin Eilers (pictured on the left), 30, a former UFC heavyweight title contender, was allegedly shot to death by James Robert Malec on Christmas night in Nampa, Idaho. Malec, 48, was taken into custody and charged with second degree murder.

Police are saying that this appears to be a family dispute. Malec (pictured on the right) is the boyfriend of Eilers' mother.

According to 2News in Boise, court documents indicated that Eilers was shot once in the chest with a .45. Watch the 2News video report after the jump.

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Eilers was 19-7-1 as a professional. He lost his most recent fight challenging Antonio Silva for the EliteXC heavyweight title in July. Eilers was 1-3 in the UFC with a win over Mike Kyle and losses to Brandon Vera and Paul Buentello. His title shot against Andrei Arlovski at UFC 53 ended oddly as Eilers blew out a knee with 50 seconds left in the first round.

Eilers played football at Iowa State 2000-01 with future NFL players Jordan Carstens, JJ Moses, James Reed and Sage Rosenfels.

Eilers' death comes just eight days after former fighter Justin Levens was found dead with his wife in Southern California.

Photo via Idaho Statesman

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