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Former UFC heavyweight title challenger Justin Eilers shot and killed

According to a news report on KTRV Fox 12 in Idaho, a Nampa resident was shot and killed on Christmas night at the 4600 Block of South Happy Valley Road.

The web video on the Fox 12 website did not identify the victim, however, the website MMA Weekly is quoting MMA manager and promoter Monte Cox as indicating that the deceased is former UFC heavyweight title challenger Justin Eilers.

The Fox 12 report states that authorities attempted to revive the unidentified man upon arriving on the scene of the crime but were unsuccessful. The Canyon County Sheriff’s Office investigation is currently ongoing but upon being contacted by, the police department confirmed that an arrest had been made.

“When deputies arrived on scene they took James Robert Malec into custody,” Canyon County Police Capt. Dana Maxfield stated. “He is 48-years old and has been charged with second degree murder.”

According to Maxfield, authorities were initially summoned to the residence in response to a domestic disturbance complaint placed at approximately 10:44 p.m. local time.

“We initially received the call as being a domestic disturbance at the residence,” began Maxfield. “While deputies were en route to the residence, they were updated that a shot had been fired and a person had been shot at the scene.”

A native of Boise, Idaho, Mr. Eilers was a standout for the Iowa State University football team. After a strong career playing middle linebacker for Iowa State, Mr. Eilers received several tryouts with NFL teams. While he never played in a regular season game, Mr. Eilers did make it to the final cut on multiple occasions.

Following his promising football career, he took up mixed martial arts at the urging of friend and former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver. The two knew each other from growing up in Idaho and Pulver was well aware of Mr. Eilers’ credentials as a tremendous football talent in high school and then at college for Iowa State.

Mr. Eilers spent his early years as a fighter learning MMA from renowned trainer Pat Miletich at Miletich Fighting Systems in Davenport, Iowa. He would go on to make his pro MMA debut on November 23, 2003, losing to eventual UFC Hall of Famer Dan Severn via unanimous decision.

Following his ambitious debut, Eilers went on to accumulate an 8-1-1 record and earned a coveted contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He debuted in fine fashion with the promotion on August 21, 2004, knocking out Mike Kyle at 1:14 of round 1 during UFC 49.

After just two UFC bouts, Mr. Eilers was granted a shot against then-UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski at UFC 53 on June 4, 2005. After losing against Arlovski, Eilers would compete in the UFC one more time before leaving the promotion.

After going 10-1 following his stint in the UFC, Mr. Eilers was rewarded by being signed to fight for Elite Xtreme Combat, where he was immediately given a chance to compete for the promotion’s vacant heavyweight title. However, Mr. Eilers fell short of winning the title after losing via second round TKO to Antonio Silva during the main event of the Showtime portion of this past July’s “Unfinished Business.”

In addition to being a NCAA football standout and a two-time heavyweight title challenger in MMA, Mr. Eilers also wrestled in high school and had also been a professional boxer signed to a major promotional contract.

Justin Eilers was only 30-years old.