MMA Stomping Grounds: Former UFC fighter Sherman Pendergarst dies

Veteran mixed martial artist and Baltimore native Sherman “The Tank” Pendergarst has lost his battle with cancer Friday. He was 46.

I was first made aware of Pendergarst from an article I read on the best MMA fighter from each state. He was selected as the representive for Maryland, and after reading the article over a year ago, I befriended Sherman through Facebook.

If you look at his professional record of 11 wins and 18 losses, you might not think he was that good of a fighter. But after seeing the opponents he has fought, you come away with a list of some of the top fighters in the world -- Shane Carwin, Antoni Hardonk, Aaron Brink, Justin Eilers, Carmelo Marrero, Tim Hague, Abe Wagner, Joey Beltran, Houston Alexander and Razak Al-Hassan.

His close friend David Paul Wilson described him as a “true Baltimore MMA legend” and “a man who never turned down a fight nor walked away from a challenge.”

There was no bigger challenge than the one he faced in cancer. Back in August 2011, was when I first start seeing Sherman post on Facebook about receiving treatments. He was very positive and I could see why he was a professional fighter. His competitiveness to beat cancer and strong faith was well on display.  

He posted on Facebook: “Hospital was great, radiation is not bad at all!!! Time to kick some cancer [behind]!!!! Faith!!!”

Sherman's love for MMA was truly evident this past February. While still getting treatments, he fought in the cage against journeyman Bruce Nelson. The fight ended in a no contest due to an accidental groin strike.

But despite that ruling, he walked away a winner because he got the chance to once again step into the octagon.

I believe The Man In The Arena by Theodore Roosevelt is an accurate description of Sherman “The Tank” Pendergarst career.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring.”

You will be missed, Sherman.

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