Taylor Wily, UFC 1 fighter and Hawaiian actor from ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall,’ dead at 56

Taylor Wily, a one-time UFC fighter who went on to a successful acting career, has died of undisclosed causes.

KITV’s Island News in Wily’s home state of Hawaii first reported his death, citing the family. Wily, who was known as Teila Tuli when he fought, was 56.

The lone fight of his MMA career was a memorable one, to be certain – though not a great one for Wily. In the first quarterfinal fight of the first tournament of the first event in the promotion’s history – UFC 1 in November 1993 – Wily (Tuli) was knocked out by a head kick in 26 seconds by Gerard Gordeau.

The KO became something of a bit of MMA lore. Wily, who competed as a sumo wrestler, as well, had three of his teeth knocked out – two of which reportedly were stuck in Gordeau’s foot. Gordeau also broke his hand landing a punch.

Although Wily’s fight with Gordeau was not the actual first fight in UFC history – there was a tournament alternate bout just before it – it will go down in the promotion’s record books as the first fight to be broadcast in UFC history. Wily also suffered the first knockout in UFC history, as well.

Wily, who was billed at 410 pounds, never fought again and became an actor.

When the UFC celebrated the 30th anniversary of UFC 1 this past November, Wily was on hand with UFC Hall of Famers Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie, as well as fellow UFC 1 fighters Art Jimmerson and Zane Frazier, to look back at the event in a sit-down reunion dinner. With Wily’s death, the original eight from the UFC 1 tournament are down to five living. Patrick Smith and Kevin Rosier died in 2019 and 2015, respectively.

The teddy-bear-big Hawaiian did more than 170 episodes of the rebooted “Hawaii Five-0” and was in another Hawaii-based reboot, “Magnum P.I.” But in 2008, he found his widest reach yet when he appeared alongside Jason Segel and Mila Kunis in the hit romantic comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie