TUF veteran Dane Sayers dies aged 33

According to Inforum the body of pro fighter, and former The Ultimate Fighter contestant, Dane Sayers was discovered in the Red River, outside of…

By: Tim Bissell | 2 years ago
TUF veteran Dane Sayers dies aged 33
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

According to Inforum the body of pro fighter, and former The Ultimate Fighter contestant, Dane Sayers was discovered in the Red River, outside of Fargo, ND, by kayakers on June 5. Sayers’ mother, Bonnie Sayers, has revealed that authorities determined that the cause of death was accidental drowning. He was 33-years-old.

According to his mother, Sayers’ often explored along the banks of the Red River. He was known to collect driftwood and gift them to various people. Over the years these gifts had been used to make artwork and adorn wedding venues. Sayers also made driftwood carvings and would leave them along hiking trials.

Sayers was born in Moorhead, ND but grew up in West Fargo. He was an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe and was, according to his father Dale Sayers, of both Chippewa and Blackfeet heritage.

Sayers fighting nickname was ‘Red Horse’, a name that was given to him by Chief Earl Old Person of the Blackfeet Nation.

Sayers pro MMA debut came in 2008 with the North Dakota based promotion MAX fights. He went 7-1 to begin his career and, in 2010, earned a spot on the cast of The Ultimate Fighter Season 12: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck.

After beating Ariel Sexton in the elimination round Sayers was the seventh pick of Team GSP. Other members of that team included Michael Johnson, Jonathan Brookins, Alex Caceres and Cody McKenzie.

On Episode 7 of the series Sayers lost to Sako Chivitchian by unanimous decision and was eliminated from the competition. Surprisingly, Sayers did not feature for the UFC after his time on TUF.

Since 2010 Sayers appeared on the regional scene around the Dakotas improving his pro record to 12-3. His last MMA fight was a decision loss to Indalecio Romero at LFA 38 in 2018. In 2019 he appeared in Ken Shamrock’s Valor Bare Knuckle promotion, losing to Joshua Dyer.

In addition to fighting in MMA Sayers worked in IT. He was also a keen chess player. His mother revealed that Sayers would play chess with Georges St-Pierre during his time on TUF. St-Pierre reportedly gifted Sayers a chessboard as a prize for beating him.

Sayers’ family are planning a celebration of his life for June 25. A gofundme campaign was started by the family with hopes of providing funds for Sayers’ young son.

You can donate to the Dane Sayers Memorial Fund here.

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Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

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