Isaiah Chapman had not only been known in his Kenmore neighborhood for his participation in mixed martial arts fighting but also his kind heart.
So when news of the former Kennmore High School wrestler and football player’s murder came to the Akron, Ohio, community, it surprised all.
“If you didn’t know his background, you would never think he was a fighter,” his MMA coach Bryan Clark told the Akron Beacon Journal. “He didn’t have any anger or animosity toward anybody.”
Chapman, 30, was fatally shot on the evening of April 7, according to the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office. Akron police responded to a call at approximately 9:40 p.m. in the street near Chapman’s home. He was taken to Summa Akron City Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Christopher Blouir, 29, was arrested the next day by the U.S. Marshals’ Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force and Akron police near East Market Street and Brittain Road and is charged with murder in the shooting death of the mixed martial arts fighter.
Chapman is survived by two daughters, Faith and Aubrey, and a son, Isaac.
Joseph Martin, an uncle to Chapman’s two daughters, told the Beacon Journal that Chapman loved his kids above everything else in his life.
“Some people say that as cliché, but for him it was just the truth, and everyone knew that,” he said.
Martin said Chapman had the same ritual — hugging “every single person” before he settled in. He was always there for his family, Martin told the Akron newspaper.
“It just didn’t matter what was going on,” Martin said. “He was always making his kids No. 1, even though he was still literally fighting for his own dream at the same time. But he never let his dreams come in the way of his kids.”
Chapman transitioned into MMA after graduating from high school. He had a 12-1 record as an amateur before turning professional. As a pro he had gone 9-4 in the ring and had signed with top MMA promoter Bellator before he died.
The company expressed its condolences via their Twitter page.
“Bellator is saddened by the news of Isaiah Chapman’s passing,” the tweet states. “Our deepest and most sincere condolences are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Due to the current pandemic, funeral arrangements are still in discussions, according to his family. A GoFundMe page has been created to assist Chapman’s family with funeral expenses.