MMA fighter, boxer Francis Ngannou announces death of 15-month-old son

NEW YORK — Former UFC heavyweight champion and professional boxer Francis Ngannou announced Monday that his 15-month-old son, Kobe, has died.

Ngannou, who is currently in his home country of Cameroon, memorialized the boy, who he said passed away on Saturday.

“Too soon to leave but yet he’s gone. My little boy, my mate, my partner Kobe was full of life and joy,” he wrote on Instagram. “Now, he’s laying without life. I shouted his name over and over but he’s not responding.”

“I was my best self next to him and now I have no clue of who I am,” he continued. “Life is so unfair to hit us where it hurts the most. How do you deal with such a thing? How can you live with it? Please help me if you have an idea because I really don’t know what to do and how to deal with this.”

Ngannou did not disclose his son’s cause of death.

“What’s the purpose of life if what we’re fighting tooth and nail to get away from is what finally hit us the hardest!?” he wrote in a post on X. “Why is life so unfair and merciless? Why does life always take what we don’t have? I’m f------ tired.”

Irish fighter Conor McGregor offered his condolences in a reply.

“I am so sorry to hear of your loss Francis, my prayers are with you and your family at this time,” McGregor wrote.

Ngannou began fighting mixed martial arts in his 20s after immigrating to Europe. He won the UFC heavyweight championship in 2021 after defeating Stipe Miocic. He left the UFC to pursue boxing and lost to lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury last October in a split decision. He has not announced whether his next bout will be a boxing match or MMA fight.

He signed with the Professional Fighters League last year.