The night went from celebration to sadness as most everyone in the MMA community woke up to learn about the passing of bantamweight rising star Cornelius Godfrey. Godfrey was 8-1 in his professional career with a huge resume of fights as an amateur. Godfrey was well known in the Ohio Valley region as one of the toughest guys.
When I first met Cornelius he was just about to make his professional debut for Spartan Fighting Championship. He had held three titles for them as an amateur. He was very polite but very focused when we met in Ashland. He won his first six pro fights rather easily before he met a tough Shah Bobonis on his national television debut for the XFC. It was a good fight but the jitters got to Corny and he came up short on the judge’s scorecards. He went on to win two more fights. He will be remembered as a great fighter with huge potential. That is what most of the community will remember. Those closer to Cornelius will remember something else.
Always a smile. If you saw him out and about he was smiling and happy. He always made time to talk to me and just about anyone else who wanted to talk. He was a well educated man, a graduate of Marshall University. He was a family man. He married his longtime girlfriend on August 9th of this year. He loved his daughter and his family.
Cornelius met Chris Wright in Ashland back in the fall of 2011. There was some talking, which is now the norm, from Wright. Cornelius didn’t buy into it but his crowd did. Sitting cageside the fans were screaming, standing on tables and pressing on our backs. When the Godfrey won, they went wild. His now wife and newborn daughter were brought into the cage. It is a scene I’ll never forget. I got to hang out and be social with Cornelius on many occasions and could fill up thousands of words on the time we spent together or the things he did for other people.
He was killed in a motorcycle accident and found around 3:30 this morning.Corny had just moved to Columbus, training at Ronin Training Center. He leaves behind his wife Brittany and his daughter Naomi. The XFC plans to honor Cornelius tomorrow night at XFC 25.
Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.
Pope Paul VI