The welterweight champion, nicknamed 'The Nightmare' is believed to have died suddenly on Saturday, July 11, with no cause of death yet confirmed. The news of Shepherd's sad passing was confirmed by his MMA promoters Contenders on Sunday. 'Everyone at Contenders is absolutely devastated to hear of Jahreau Shepherd‘s death,' the post read. Jay, our welterweight champion, was hugely talented and great fun to be around, a big personality with a huge smile and infectious laugh. 'Inside the cage, he was destined for the top - a champion in three different organisations with heavy hands and a warrior heart. 'Our thoughts are with all his family and friends at this terrible time. Rest in peace, champ.'
Tributes were paid to Shepherd on social media after news of his death was made public. MMA commentator Michael Morgan paid his respects in a Twitter post on Sunday: 'Absolutely shocked to hear the news this morning. A true gentleman inside and outside the cage. Rest in peace #UKMMA’s Jahreau Shepherd.' The 30-year-old from London, defeated Quinten de Vreught in February to be crowned welterweight champion at Contenders 29. Shepherd was known for his pace and aggression and was also a member of the London Fight Factory.