Veteran MMA referee Neil Hall, a key and pioneering figure on the UK and European scene, has sadly passed away.
Both a longtime official and coach, Hall lost his three-week battle with COVID-19 complications at the age of 55.
The news was broken by Hall’s wife Kath, who said her husband contracted the coronavirus in hospital. Hall was there for a follow-up appointment that was required after he picked up an infection from back surgery he had last August.
“Over the years, Neil has met many people from all over the world and has had lots of fantastic experiences,” Kath wrote on Facebook. “Today we have to say goodbye to him.”
From his refereeing peers to media members, coaches and the competitors he officiated fights for, tributes for Hall poured in as soon as the sad news was made public.
This man reffed a lot of my early fights at amateur and pro, complete shock to hear of his passing. Rest in peace Neil hall forever be a UKMMA legend ❤️ https://t.co/Z2b9pmgDsl
— Paddy Pimblett (@PaddyTheBaddy) March 10, 2021
REST IN PEACE NEIL HALL 🙏🏼
— Molly McCann (@MeatballMolly) March 10, 2021
In shock to hear that referee Neil Hall passed away earlier today. An honourable referee with an eye for detail. Spent many a Saturday night post show discussing fights gone by with him. #RIP brother 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/yhg47CgXJU
— Coach JK (@John_Kavanagh) March 10, 2021
Absolutely devastating news tonight that Neil Hall very sadly passed away. Anyone who’s anyone in UKMMA will have known Neil. A tough as nails gritty northerner who wore his heart on his sleeve & was just a bloody good bloke. A friend & colleague of 20 years. God bless you. RIP pic.twitter.com/0Q5wULTgsw
— Marc Goddard (@marcgoddard_uk) March 10, 2021
Marc Goddard, who worked alongside Hall at many events for over two decades, also took to Facebook to share more thoughts on his late friend.
“Absolutely devastating news tonight that Neil Hall had very sadly passed away,” Goddard wrote. “Anyone who is anyone in UK MMA will have known Neil. A tough as nails gritty northerner who wore his heart on his sleeve and was just a bloody good bloke.
“I knew Neil for close on 20 years in one way or another and we met and worked together so many times. When Neil made it to the UFC it was like a kid at Christmas and he was so proud and Neil you made it your way. I’m so glad you got to stand there and do what you truly loved. I will not forget our words.”
Fighters Only sends their condolences to the family and friends of Neil Hall during this tragic time. Rest in Peace, Neil.