Eilers was shot and died shortly after on Friday morning in an
apparent domestic disturbance at an acquaintance’s home in Canyon
County, Idaho. Eilers was 30 years old.
Canyon County sheriffs arrived at the residence at 10:44 p.m. MST,
where Eilers was found shot and wounded.
"Emergency medical staff took live-saving measures, but they were
unsuccessful," said Capt. Dana Maxfield.
Eilers was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy conducted
Friday released the cause of death as a single gunshot wound to the
chest. The bullet reportedly punctured Eilers’ lung before exiting
his body, said Monte Cox, Eiler's longtime manager.
Cox said Eilers had gathered with relatives for the holidays, but
tensions escalated with an ex-girlfriend, also in attendance.
Eilers was asked to leave the residence, but was said to have
refused and began throwing dishes and other objects in protest. The
home’s owner was then said to have pulled a gun on Eilers and shot
him in the chest after a brief verbal confrontation.
Eilers’ ex-girlfriend, mother, and young son were said to have been
in the room at the time of the shooting.
James Robert Malec, 48, was arrested and charged with second degree
murder in relation with the shooting, said Capt. Maxfield. It is
believed that Malec is Eilers’ mother’s boyfriend. Capt. Maxfield
could not confirm this relationship or Eilers' alleged interaction
with the ex-girlfriend. Maxfield did confirm that numerous
relatives were at the scene at the time of the shooting.
Eilers was introduced to the fight game by close friend and former
UFC champion Jens Pulver,
who saw potential in the former Iowa State middle linebacker. After
a brief tryout, Eilers became a member of the formidable Miletich
Martial Arts team.
A well-liked figure in the fight community, the athletic
heavyweight quickly rose through the ranks and fought for the UFC
heavyweight championship against Andrei
Arlovski at UFC 53 in June 2005. The fight was stopped 4:10
into the first round when Eilers incurred a knee injury and
collapsed to the canvas.
Eilers (19-7-1) appeared in the Octagon four times, and went 1-3 in
The Boise native reeled off 10 victories in his next 11 fights and
got his second title bid for the EliteXC promotion in 2008.
After a second-round loss to the much heftier Antonio
Silva last July, Eilers announced he’d be moving down to the
“He was really getting his fight career together,” said Cox, who
called Eilers a good friend.
Jeff Sherwood and Brian Knapp contributed to this
This article was updated at 4:10
p.m. EST to correct and add information pertaining to Eilers'
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