Friends and family of 27-year old Saul Gallegos Ruiz are still in disbelief as the young professional fighter’s body still has not been found, more than a week after flipping his kayak in the waters of the Willamette River, just north of Elk Rock Island in Milwaukie, Oregon.
Ruiz fell into the waters on April 16 and is presumed drowned, though Clackamas County search and rescue teams have been unable to find his body.
The fighter’s last Snapchat story was about 4 p.m. Thursday, his cousins said, when he posted about having gotten in his day’s workout on the river. About 20 minutes later, he was seen struggling in the water after being tossed from his kayak. He was not wearing a life jacket.
A Go-Fund-Me fundraiser created to help cover funeral and memorial expenses has generated more than $13,000 as of press time.
Ruiz competed in his first professional mixed martial arts bout in 2018, defeating his opponent in just 11 seconds. As an amateur, Ruiz went 3-4, with one of the losses coming by way of unanimous decision to current UFC fighter Ricky Simón.
“He was the hardest-working kid in the room, but he was also the most polite kid in the room,” said Nick Gilardi, his trainer at Impact Jiu Jitsu. “You could never get him to quit. He was the first one there and the last one to go. I’ve known him for eight years. He’s one of the best athletes I’ve ever coached.”
Anyone with information regarding the presumed death of Saul Gallegos Ruiz should contact the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office at 503-655-8211.