UFC, WEC, and EliteXC veteran Justin Eilers died early this morning as the result of a single gun shot wound to the chest suffered during a domestic dispute at the home of an acquaintance in Canyon County, Idaho.
Canyon County Sheriffs arrived at the house at 10:44pm MT to find Eilers wounded and were unable to save the fighter’s life.
According to reports, Eilers had gathered at the house with relatives and friends to celebrate Christmas but an argument reportedly arose between Eilers and his ex-girlfriend, who was also present at the residence. The dispute then escalated, culminating with James Robert Malec, believed to be the boyfriend of Eilers’ mother, shooting Eilers once in the chest with several family members witnessing the attack.
Malec was apprehended by authorities and has been charged with second-degree murder.
Following his collegiate football football career as a linebacker at Iowa State, Eilers was recruited to Miletich Fighting Systems by Jens Pulver, eventually making his MMA debut in late-2002. He holds a 19-7-1 record as a professional fighter, including a 1-3 mark in the UFC. Following an 8-2-1 start to his career, Eilers debuted in the octagon, stopping Mike Kyle via first-round knockout. Despite losing to Paul Buentello at UFC 51, Eilers challenged Andrei Arlovski for the heavyweight title, losing in the first-round due to a knee injury. A third-consecutive loss suffered to Brandon Vera marked Eilers’ last appearance in the UFC but after winning 10 of his next 11 bouts Eilers challenged Antonio Silva for the first-ever EliteXC heavyweight championship, losing via second-round TKO.
He was 30-years-old.