Tragedy has struck the Canadian fight scene and MMA world in general as Invicta FC alum and current BTC women’s strawweight champion Ashley Nichols has died at age 37.

News of Nichols’ death was first reported on Tuesday, noting that she had passed the previous day. No cause of death has been revealed; Ashley Nichols coach, Jeff Harrison, wrote a touching tribute to his fighter on social media.

“We lost a vibrant champion last night. I found this indigenous female upstart when I taught in London, she went on to become one of MAS Thai boxing’s most decorated professional champions in Muay Thai. Truly the most technical and ferocious female striker that Canada has EVER SEEN. IFMA world champ, WMF world Champ, WPMTF world champ. She was imbedded in the MMA scene after her championship reign in Thailand, and I was fortunate enough to be her mentor and coach at the beginning of that journey,” wrote Harrison. “I, along with so many others admired Ashley for being so courageous, driven and resilient. She was proof that you could work hard and improve your situation in life, and literally become the best on planet earth regardless of where you come from.
She wanted to be the best.”

“Demons haunted her, but she wanted to be the best. My condolences to my friends that were her family, and to all the people out there that loved her. Rest In Peace Champ.”

Nichols took her first pro MMA bout in 2013, against future UFC fighter Randa Markos. She then went on a three-fight win streak under the TKO banner, winning two fights in a night at TKO 39 to win their strawweight tournament.

Stepping away from the sport in 2018, Nichols, nicknamed “AK47,” returned to action in 2022 and put together a 4-1 record across her last five fights, ending on a three-fight win streak that saw her capture and defend the BTC women’s strawweight championship. The Canadian had also competed for the LFA strawweight title in 2022.

The likes of Angela Hill, who competed against Nichols in Muay Thai, and Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, former Bellator MMA women’s flyweight champ, were among those sharing their condolences in the wake of the news.

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