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An outpouring of grief and tributes has flown from Phuket’s Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts (MMS) community following the death of New Zealand mother Ariana Brown, 43, in a motorbike accident early Saturday morning (Jan 23).
Ms Brown was returning from her first fight victory when the motorbike she was riding hit a roadside tree in Soi Ta-iad, Chalong, an area renowned for its many Muay Thai and MMA gyms and training centres.
Tiger Muay Thai, where Ms Brown trained on Soi Ta-iad, posted on its Facebook page: “Ariana Brown first came to Tiger Muay Thai about a year ago for a new experience with no thought of fighting. Shortly thereafter she fell in love with Muay Thai, making her want to see how she would do in a fight.
“After a lot of hard training at the age of 43 she got to achieve her dream this past Friday night (Jan 22), coming out victorious by TKO in the 4th round. Tragically, Ariana passed away later that night.
“Ariana was a much loved member of the Tiger family who was an inspiration to everyone who knew her. All of us at Tiger Muay Thai are deeply saddened by her passing and send our condolences to her family.”
Friend Ash Gibson was riding 30 or 40 seconds behind Ms Brown and was the first friend on the scene after the crash, reported online news portal Stuff.co.nz. (See story here.)
“She had never fought before, she was so stoked,” Gibson said.
The world had lost an “amazing woman” who “loved life”, she added. “She’s loved by so many here in Thailand, had a huge group of us cheering her on for her fight.
“I think we were all just taken by her beauty outside and inside… I’m heartbroken. She was a strong woman, it’s still pretty hard to believe.”
Brown had suffered severe head injuries in the crash and although she was rushed to Vachira Phuket Hospital, she was pronounced dead on arrival.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the death and said it was supporting Brown’s family. Ms Brown is survived by two sons, reported Stuff.co.nz.
Among the tributes posted on the Tiger Muay Thai Facebook page, were the following:
“Rip was a pleasure to have met although only briefly you were very vibrant friendly women such a tragic ending to what was your night of success r.i.p thoughts and prayers go to your family.”
– Anthony Scott Forrest
“I hope Ari is looking down and seeing how many people’s lives she has touched by being in them, whether it has been for a short time or long, rest in peace Ariana Brown, to her sons and family, take care xx”
– Leeanne Hay
“Always smiling and helping us.. Rest is peace Ariana.”
– Siso Hristoff
“She was a fantastic training partner,serious,funny and friendly…I am so sorry…”
– Salvatore Cafiero
“Proud of you Ari. You got your fight and you owned it wahine. You never stopped living and chasing your dreams. Arohanui my friend. On to the next part of your journey!”
– Rob Edmondson