Ryan Jimmo was the pride of Canada when he proudly represented his country in the light heavyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He was best-known and most-loved for his record-breaking seven-second knockout of Anthony Perosh until one day, tragedy struck.
At the age of 34, Jimmo found himself in a parking lot in Edmonton, Canada, with his fiance having a dispute with a guy driving a truck during the early hours of the morning. What happened next was unexpected and completely unnecessary…
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Having been born in Saint John, Canada, Jimmo was the youngest of four siblings and was taught martial arts by his father from a young age. Jimmo’s father, a 5th-degree black belt in karate, taught little Ryan everything he knew as he saw a special spark in his youngest son and a real talent for fighting. Jimmo was just 10 years old when he began competing.
Jimmo’s father was right about his son, who found himself competing and winning both provincial and regional championships at such a young age. The young lad also competed nationally before he got into mixed martial arts. He was also an amateur bodybuilder and president of the chess club at his school. His career started in the Maximum Fighting Championship (MFC) when he debuted against football player Adam Braidwood.
Having debuted at MFC 11, Jimmo went on to MFC 14 and 15 in between the various local appearances he made. He amassed an impressive record of a 5-0 score over that time with two wins by his trademark rear-naked choke. The other three wins were by TKOs and Jimmo was ready for The Ultimate Fighter tryouts.
Having achieved a 6-1 record, Jimmo was chosen as one of sixteen light heavyweights in the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter. His first fight was against veteran fighter Antwain Britt who defeated Jimmo by a majority decision after just two rounds. At the time, Jimmo said he was disappointed by the defeat, but noted according to an Edmonton Journal report, “Dana White said it was probably one of the better fights of the day, so that’s good. The UFC already has their eye on me.”
Having been eliminated from The Ultimate Fighter, Jimmo returned to his local circuit where he clocked up another three victories. He then decided to re-join Maximum Fighting Championship and made it to MFC 21 where he beat Mychal Clark by 30–27.
Every fighter has that one notable fight that puts them in the history books, and that was no different for Jimmo. His fight against Wilson Gouveia at MFC 25 was an epic one, as Sherdog, an American website devoted to mixed martial arts noted at the time: “Jimmo has all the tools and an affable personality that makes him championship material. Unfortunately, though, Jimmo has failed to capitalize on numerous opportunities to cement himself in the title picture because he hasn’t been a big finisher despite a 12-fight winning streak.”
Having faced Ovince St. Preux in 2014 at UFC 174, Jimmo came out fighting but was defeated by his opponent, after he was forced to verbally submit in the second round. Around a year later, Jimmo lost again to Francimar Barroso at UFC Fight Night 67. He lost that fight by a unanimous decision and was subsequently released from the UFC. To all intents and purposes, Jimmo’s career was over.
At the age of 34 and standing at six-foot-three, Jimmo was visiting Edmonton one weekend with his fiancée. The two were recently engaged and were enjoying some time away together. In the early hours of one Sunday morning, the couple was driving west down Whyte Avenue in a Jeep having just seen a movie. What happened next would change the course of many people’s lives forever.
That night, Anthony Getschel was driving in the same direction as Jimmo and his girlfriend with his friend Jordan Wagner. The two had been drinking heavily at the Cook County Saloon and had even had a fist-fight with some people at the bar before they left. During that fight, Getschel had been knocked to the ground.
Jimmo thought that 23-year-old Getschel had been driving aggressively behind him and signaled for him to pull into a strip mall parking lot at the intersection of Whyte Avenue and 101 Street. He probably should have left it but he didn’t, and that decision cost Jimmo his life.
As soon as Jimmo and his girlfriend pulled into the parking lot, Getschel exited his vehicle and slapped the driver’s side window of Jimmo’s car. As Jimmo got out of his car, the other car sped around the Jeep and struck Jimmo, dragging him for a few meters. The truck then sped out of the parking lot and fled the scene.
Passersby called 911 and also flagged down a cop car that was passing. Jimmo was still conscious but badly injured. He was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital but died soon after arrival from his injuries. Getschel then hid his truck in the Mill Creek Ravine and took a cab home to avoid law enforcement.
At the time, Getschel was forced to make up a bunch of lies to his family. He told them that his truck had been stolen, but he picked his truck up a day or two later and got new fake license plates through a registry, claiming the plate had been stolen. His ploy failed, and Getschel was soon arrested and taken downtown for questioning.
Getschel, who was working for a moving company at the time, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Ryan Jimmo, admitting that he ran him over on that night. Having entered the guilty plea at the Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton, the defendant also pleaded guilty to failing to remain at the scene of a fatal collision.
While the defendant was convicted of manslaughter, he was handed an eight-year prison sentence which some people feel is too light. He will also be banned from driving for another eight years after he leaves jail. He was given six years for the murder and another two years for fleeing the scene of the murder. Justice Paul Belzil described the incident as a “complete tragedy.”
Justice Belzil spoke about the pointless and unnecessary death of Ryan Jimmo: “One man died for nothing. Absolutely nothing,” he told the courtroom filled with friends and family. At the same time, Jimmo’s mother Linda told the court, “I am numb. Sometimes we can’t watch TV; we can’t sleep, eat, hear a certain song.” Linda’s impact statement was also heartfelt and tragic.
Linda Jimmo told the packed courtroom during her impact statement: “Ryan, you never told me how I was supposed to live without you for the rest of my life. When you died, so much of us died too,” she said through tears. For his part, Getschel, a father-of-two also showed remorse in court, and that’s the reason his sentence was lighter than expected.
Addressing the court, Getschel said: “I’m very sorry for the pain that I caused,” he said as he turned toward the Jimmo family. “I’ll never be able to forgive myself for what happened.” Both the Jimmo and Getschel families were audibly crying inside the courtroom as the defendant did what he could to make amends and apologize for what he had done.
The court heard that at the scene of the altercation, Jimmo’s fiance, Roxie Reese, was hugging him as he laid dying on the ground in the parking lot. “I was telling him I love him and to fight. And he fought really hard, Ryan did, for his life,” she said. But nothing could bring Ryan back, and Reese realized that he was most likely not going to make it.
While Justice Belzil said that Getschel fleeing the scene and trying to cover up his actions was”extremely concerning,” he explained that he needed a lengthy penalty for that. Getschel surrendered his driving license in court ahead of his sentencing as both families look to rebuild their lives after this tragic and unnecessary incident. He will serve eight years in prison for his crimes.