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Kimo Leopoldo Bio

Kimo Leopoldo (born 4 January 1968), or simply Kimo, is a retired American mixed martial artist. He made his MMA debut at UFC 3 in 1994 losing to Royce Gracie by submission.

He was credited with a black belt in taekwondo in his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut at UFC 3.


  • 1 Background
  • 2 Mixed martial arts career
  • 3 Acting career
  • 4 Personal life
  • 5 Mixed martial arts record
  • 6 Kickboxing record
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links


Leopoldo was born in Munich to an American father of Caucasian and Polynesian descent and a German mother from Germany. Four months after he was born his family moved to Hawaii. Leopoldo was a natural athlete growing up, playing football, wrestling, and he also had an interest in surfing. Leopoldo was a dominant wrestler at Waianae High School and played on the team that won the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Championship. Leopoldo was also a very talented middle linebacker in football, and attended the University of Washington on a partial athletic scholarship, but he was unprepared for college, and returned to Hawaii shortly after.

In Huntington Beach, California, he sought to renew his career in football. Going under the name "Kim Leopold" he quickly became an NJCAA All-American and gained interest from many Division I colleges. However, he tore both of his ACLs, and his success only lasted until the middle of his sophomore year. Depressed and with seemingly no future, he met Joe Son and turned to mixed martial arts after studying films of fights including UFC 1, among other fights featuring Royce Gracie, who Leopoldo would later make his debut against.

Mixed martial arts career

At UFC 3, billed as a taekwondo fighter, Kimo fought the reigning, defending UFC 1 and UFC 2 champion Royce Gracie in the first round. Though Gracie tried to take him down at all costs, Kimo stayed firmly on his feet, and even managed to capture his back in a failed trip. Royce eventually turned it into a full mount, but only briefly, as Kimo flipped him over and landed multiple headbutts through Gracie's guard. The Brazilian fighter then grabbed Kimo's ponytail in an attempt to get the advantage, but it didn't stop Kimo from taking his back standing. Finally, Royce rolled around and locked an armbar, making Leopoldo submit.

Even though Kimo lost, Royce was left so hurt he couldn't fight two other bouts he had that night, and had to forfeit his match against Harold Howard. Kimo and his cornermen Joe Son featured a controversial moment that very night, when they jumped on the cage after Royce's forfeiting and started celebrating among the audience's chants.

After three straight wins in Japan, including a dominant win over UFC 2 finalist Pat Smith, Kimo returned at UFC 8 and fought reigning UFC champion Ken Shamrock in a title match for the UFC Superfight Championship, but lost early in the fight via submission due to a kneebar.

Kimo then fought at the UFC's Ultimate Ultimate 1996. He won his first fight against UFC 7 finalist Paul Varelans, but withdrew from the tournament after the win due to exhaustion.

He then traveled to Japan and fought the former 3 time UFC champion Dan Severn in the inaugural Pride Fighting Championships. A controversial contest, it took place primarily standing with both fighters nulifying the others inability to strike. At the end of the contest Severn attempted to take Kimo down, however was unable because Kimo held onto the ropes. At the 29th minute Severn landed a take down, however it was a matter of too little too late and the contest was deemed a draw. Upon the final bell, commentator Stephen 'The Fight Professor' Quadros said 'the best thing about this fight is Dan Severn's post fight look', and in response to the Japanese crowd uncharacteristically booing, he said 'they're booing because they're relieved it's over'.

Kimo then returned for UFC 16 at UFC: Battle in the Bayou and fought top Japanese fighter Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. Kimo began the contest aggressive, securing a strong takedown and controlling Kohsaka for the first six and a half minutes. Kimo then began to fatigue and Kohsaka took advantage, restoring the fight back to its feet, before landing a stiff right jab to the face of Kimo. Clearly stunned by the punch, momemtum immediately swung in Kohsaka's favour. Although Kimo held on for the remainder of the bout, Kohsaka won via unanimous decision, out scoring Kimo in striking, grappling, and octagon control.

After a four-year break from mixed martial arts, Kimo won a warm up fight against Tim Lajcik in the WFA in 2002. He then again returned to the UFC at UFC 43, where he quickly defeated David "Tank" Abbott by arm triangle choke. Kimo went on to fight in the main event of UFC 48, where he fought Ken Shamrock in a rematch. Kimo was knocked out in the first round from knees to the head. After the fight Kimo, tested positive for the steroid Stanozolol, also known as Winstrol, among other drugs. He was suspended for six months and fined $5,000 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Kimo was to fight Bas Rutten at WFA: King of the Streets on July 22, 2006. However, he was forced off the card by the California State Athletic Commission, after testing positive for Stanozolol once again.

In his two most recent fights, Kimo lost to Dave Legeno by submission. He then lost to Wes Sims by TKO in X-1.

Acting career

Leopoldo has worked since 1996 as an actor in independent productions. He starred in the direct to video production R.I.O.T.: The Movie and the films The Process, The Dog Problem, In the Closet, Bullet and Avengers Grimm.

Personal life

In February 2009 Leopoldo was arrested in Tustin, California for possession of a controlled substance. In the police report Leopoldo was standing by his car, wearing sandals, playing with a yo-yo, and donning a Long Beach Police Department jumpsuit that can only be worn by the motor pool mechanics.

Various media outlets reported that Leopoldo had died from complications from a heart attack at age 41. Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports reported on his Twitter that Leopoldo's publicist refuted reports that Leopoldo was in Costa Rica and instead was seen alive in Orange County the night before. At a July 21, 2009 press conference Leopoldo denied anyone close to him created the rumor, he also expressed his desire to return to fight one last time.

Kimo is well known for his Christian beliefs: he sports many religious tattoos, and entered the arena at UFC 3 carrying a large cross on his back.

Mixed martial arts record

Kickboxing record

Legend:   Win   Loss   Draw/No contest   Notes

External links

  • Kimo Leopoldo on IMDb
  • Official website
  • Professional MMA record for Kimo Leopoldo from Sherdog Edit this at Wikidata
  • "Kimo Leopoldo". 

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