The 34-year-old fighter had a heart attack in his sleep over night on Monday night, according to friend and Michigan-based ring announcer Phil Davey.
O’Grady, who hailed from St. Clair Shores, Michigan, made his way to mixed martial arts after being bullied as a kid and then becoming a black belt in judo.
Throughout his life he was a spokesperson and advocate for anti-bullying, and he wanted the opportunity to show kids that martial arts could change their lives in the same way they did his.
His longtime manager Monte Cox had this to say on Facebook:
“I’m in shock. Managed Dom most of his career and became good friends. Hadn’t talked in a few weeks. Can’t believe it.”
And former XFC promoter John Prisco:
“XFC Veteran Dom O’Grady passed away, how I don’t know and don’t care, he was a good guy and father. He will be missed.”
He competed in many promotions during an eight-year pro career, including XFO, Adrenaline MMA, IFL, King of the Cage, Bellator, Pancrase, and more.
We became aware of O’Grady when he competed at XFC 27: Frozen Fury in his home state. O’Grady submitted Eric Reynolds in the second round at the AXS TV event.
Over his career the former King of the Cage champion faced many notables, including Jeremiah Riggs, Tim Means, Bobby Green, Satoru Kitaoka, AJ Matthews, and Jesse Ronson.
O’Grady most recently competed in February, when he came up short against Dequan Townsend at WXC 55 in Michigan.
Photo courtesy Sherdog/Keith Mills