UFC 1 Star Teila Tuli Has Died At 56 Years Old

Teila Tuli, aka Taylor Wily, best known to MMA fans as the sumo fighter from the UFC’s first ever event back in 1993, has died aged 56.

Teili went down in history when he fought Gegard Gordeau in the 1st quarter-final of the event, though despite weighing in at a whopping 410lbs, he’d only last 26 seconds before being TKO’d by a head kick that infamously sent one of his teeth flying into the crowd while two others were left embedded in his opponent’s foot.

To his credit Teili actually wanted the fight to continue, but after a debate amongst the officials the fight was brought to an end.

Tuli’s combat sports career came to an abrupt end at that point, but under the name Taylor Wily he would go on to establish himself as an actor, featuring in 171 episodes of the Hawaii Five-0 reboot as well as appearing in Magnum P.I., MacGyver and the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Last year Tuli joined other stars of UFC 1 in a special roundtable feature in which they enjoying a good-natured discussion reminiscing about the event and how they helped usher in a sport that would go on to become a global phenomenon many years later.

Tragically, Art Jimmerson has since passed away just last month, while Tuli’s death means that in total four of the original eight fighters (not including the unbroadcasted alternates) are no longer with us, with Kevin Rosier having died in 2015 and Patrick Smith in 2019.

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously FightOfTheNight.com) in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.