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Shepherd was found with stab wounds on the Black Prince Estate in Kennington a little after 10 p.m. local time on Saturday. After efforts from paramedics to stop the bleeding, Shepherd was pronounced dead at the scene.
The fighter was reportedly celebrating with family and friends at a barbecue on the lawn of the estate. Scotland Yard is treating the death as a murder and has launched an investigation, but no arrests have been made. Shortly after Shepherd’s death, a 26-year-old man arrived at a local hospital with stab wounds believed to have been suffered at the same party.
“Jay was a great friend, fighter, training partner, coach and team member, and his sense of humour, positive presence and wonderfully loud laugh will be very much missed,” said Jeremy Petley, Shepherd’s coach at the London Fight Factory.
Shepherd was 6-2 as a professional mixed martial artist, a record that included a doctor stoppage victory over Marcin Zywica at Bellator 200 on May 25, 2018. He last competed on Feb. 15, winning a title belt with a five-round verdict over Quinten de Vreught at a regional show in Norfolk, England.
Darren Stewart, a training partner of Shepherd's, paid tribute to his friend in an Instagram post:
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Words can’t even describe how I feel. I haven’t stopped crying! I got a text from my cousin and still didn’t believe it until I saw people writing R.I.P........ all you wanted to do is make it in life in mma. You was always on smoke and I loved it because I said to you don’t matter if I’m in UFC, I always wanted your confidence how you was just up for any fight......still crying now as I write this. It hasn’t hit me yet I ain’t took it in yet. I can’t even talk to anyone right now I’m so fucking hurt. I promise you bro I’ll do what ever it takes to make it because you was a real one that always supported me AAAAAALWAYS! R.I.P