Chris Weidman and family start wrestling scholarship to honor father-in-law’s death in tragic accident

Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman is honoring his father-in-law by setting up a new scholarship fund to help wrestlers achieve their dreams.

Vincent Pecora, who first became acquainted with Weidman when he was just a seventh-grade wrestler, tragically died recently after he was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street. Pecora was on his way to visit his son-in-law, who was training in New York.

Weidman posted the news on social media, paying tribute to Pecora and the tremendous influence his father-in-law had on his life.

“The last few weeks have been very tough for my family and me as my father-in-law got hit by a car and was in critical condition fighting for his life until his body eventually gave out after five days,” Weidman wrote on Instagram. “Vinny, like he’s done daily for 10 plus years, was crossing the street heading to our gym to say hello and show support when he realized he forgot his mask; he made a quick turn to head back to his car and got struck by a truck. Complete accident but downright tragic. For five days, he fought a battle and eventually it became too much.

“Pops has been in my life since seventh grade, which happens to be the same day I met his daughter and ultimately my wife-to-be. It was my first wrestling camp, Granby camp in Virginia. I didn’t know at the time, but he would end up being a massive part of my life. Most of the offseason tournaments and camps, it was Pops that was driving us. He came to all my wrestling matches from Junior high to college. Pops never missed one of my fights as he became an integral part of my life.”

In the wake of his father-in-law’s passing, Weidman and his family have now started a memorial scholarship fund in Pecora’s name to help up and coming wrestlers find opportunities in college.

“In his honor we would like to set up the Vincent J. Pecora Jr. Scholarship Foundation,” a statement read on a GoFundMe set up to fund the scholarship. “He may no longer be physically with us, but his love and support will always be here. To keep his memory alive, we will continue to support young wrestlers in their pursuit of higher education.

“All we ask in return is that anyone who knew him continue to speak his name, tell his stories, and share their knowledge, tips and words of encouragement with one another. It takes a village to make a great wrestler and we hope to continue his legacy and extend his impact to future generations of wrestlers.”

Weidman, who was a Division I All-American wrestler while competing at Hofstra University, is expected to return to action at UFC 261 in April for a rematch against Uriah Hall after their originally scheduled bout was scrapped when the former champion was diagnosed with COVID-19.

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