Pat Reeves died this week, and his death saddened a lot of us. He was the heart and soul of the fight game community here for more than a decade. I was not nearly as close a friend as many others, but every time I saw Pat, we talked a spell, whether at Foley’s gym or at the fights. I interviewed him often, whether for the blog or the Standard-Examiner. I admired the guy, not only for his fighting skill and passion, but for his desire to share his skills with others, to teach and be a mentor. Besides training at Foley's, Pat was also a member of the Assassins fight team.
I love the above photo of Pat. It reminds of the first time I saw him fight. He took on tough opponent, Drayton Woods, from southern Utah who went on the attack on Pat. From the ground, Pat weathered the storm and maneuvered his foe into a triangle choke. The guy fought it hard, but he succumbed. Pat’s joy and love of MMA is captured in that photo. We ran that photo, or one similar, in the Standard-Examiner, in our recap of the card.
Pat never ducked a fight – he even had a couple pro boxing matches -- and he had bravado. A year after the first fight I mention he was on a card at Raptors field in Ogden, against a contemporary named Gabe Francis. Pat dared him to hit his face. Gabe obliged him. The punches did little to stem Pat’s enthusiasm but unfortunately they drew a lot of blood, forcing a doctor’s stoppage. (18 months later, Pat got another shot at Francis, and this time he won in the first round, via a triangle choke).
Pat won a regional belt in 2013, traveling to Vernal and beating the very tough Daniel Stratton to take the Rocky Mountain Fight Championships title. He won in round 4, a championship round, by – you guessed it – a triangle choke. Pat’s lean, tall, rangy physique was ideal for the triangle choke. I wasn’t at that bout, but I interviewed Pat at Foley’s gym a few days later. He was wearing his belt. I wish I could find the photo I took of him with the belt. He took a lot of deserved pride in that win. He defended the belt successfully once before losing it in the cage.
I got to see Pat’s final two wins, and his last fight, a loss to a world-class fighter, fellow Ogden colleague Steven Siler. Pat was a well-established pro who fought not only the best regional opponents, but the elite too. Besides Siler, he also tangled, and acquitted himself well, against Lance Palmer, in Orem a few years ago.
One time, several years ago when we were chatting at Foley’s gym, Pat told me he wanted to do something to help others, to use some of the blessings he had received to give others a boost. I believe Pat achieved this goal the past couple of years with “The Pack,” a group of MMA fighters that he trained and trained with at Foley’s. Until very recently, “The Pack” was a fixture of fighters working hard at Foley’s. Until the day I die I will treasure the memories of Pat working with these MMA hopefuls in the cage, patiently sharing his wisdom with them, watching sparring, sparring with them, going over the mechanics of the sport, patiently improving their skills. Eric Munoz, who recently retired, is just one example of an MMA hopeful that, through Pat’s guidance, moved from MMA novice to respected, talented amateur veteran who earned a regional belt.
It’s going to be very hard to go to Foley’s gym and not see Pat there. When I learned of his death Monday, I moved away from my work desk, and found a place to shed some tears. We won’t forget Pat, and not forgetting will include taking some harsh lessons from his untimely death and helping others who will face some of the challenges that overwhelmed Pat in his final days.
Right now, we honor our friend. Here’s a link to Pat’s obituary. On Sunday at 1 p.m. a celebration of his life will be held at Foley’s gym in Ogden, 375 31st Street, an appropriate spot to honor Pat because he honored so many of us there, and at other gyms and arenas. Also, Friday, beginning at 5:30 p.m., Foley's will host a night dedicated to Pat with some martial arts instruction (Bang Muy Thai courtesy of Jarrett Kelton), some grappling and a silent auction, all to remember Pat and help his young family. Admission is free.
-- Doug Gibson
Here's Pat's Tapology page.
Here's a photo essay the Standard-Examiner published prior to Pat's final bout.