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Man charged with murder in death of MMA fighter
Published Thursday, January 10, 2013 6:51AM MST
Last Updated Thursday, January 10, 2013 12:56PM MST
Calgary Police have charged a man with second degree murder in connection with the death of Wyatt Lewis, a prominent MMA fighter in the city.
James Rajbhandari, 26, of Calgary, has been charged with one count of second degree murder.
He was arrested on Wednesday.
Police were called to the Neville building in the 1000 block of 16 Ave N.W. at about 3:00 a.m. on September 1, 2012.
Two men were found inside suffering from stab wounds and were taken to hospital but one man died on arrival.
Police believe that there was an altercation between two groups prior to the stabbing.
Members of the province’s mixed martial arts community are relieved that someone has been arrested in the death but their focus remains with Lewis’ family.
“It means a lot that someone has been found for sure but, at the same time, what’s done is done,” says Brad Wall of the Progressive Fighting Academy in Lethbridge. “You can’t bring Wyatt back, so it’s always going to be a tough thing.”
Lewis is originally from Lethbridge and was a pioneer in the sport of MMA in southern Alberta.
He was a self employed pipe-fitter who left behind a wife and four kids.
He stopped competing in 2008, but continued to train and teach the sport when he moved to Calgary.
UFC fighter, Nick Ring knew Lewis and fought against him in 2003.
"He was a fierce competitor and outside of the ring, Wyatt was the kind of guy who had a very strong sense of moral values and very much a strong, silent type,very strong in his beliefs and convictions," said Ring.
Ring says Lewis' death is a blow to the whole MMA community in Alberta and that he is not surprised to hear Lewis was trying to help someone else.
"I'm not surprised to hear that he would step in to help somebody and unfortunately he payed for that with his life," said Ring. "He was one of the pioneers of mixed martial arts in Calgary."
Ring also says that Lewis was the kind of man who would go out of his way for others.
Rajbhandari's first court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.