Will Fleury opens up on suicide of former teammate: ‘It seemed like someone had to do something; He has two small kids’

As Will Fleury stressed himself, speaking about the abrupt death of former friend and teammate, Marlon Forde, is palpably difficult.

Marlon, who had a background in Tae Kwon Do and MMA, took his own life in January this year aged 24.

Left behind was his partner and their twin baby boys.

MMA fighter Will Fleury (2-0), who now trains out of SBG Ireland, set up a GoFundMe page to support Marlon’s family through an unimaginably painful time.

Yesterday, an emotional and determined Will spoke to Fightstore Media on the phone.

Will believes not enough people involved in martial arts are aware of Marlon’s tragic death. Therefore he has continued the campaign with the goal of raising ten thousand euro for Marlon’s family.

“We can tap into the martial arts community. I was shocked because I was talking to everyone I know fairly well inside the gym and they were like ‘what, when did this happen?’

“They’re definitely people in the martial arts community who are still not aware of this and they might be willing to give.”

From 2012 until 2015 Marlon and Will were close friends who trained together at the MMA Clinic Gym in Cork. Marlon was someone Will had “genuine time for” and a friend who he socialised with outside of training.

The emotion in Will’s voice was clear when he described the type of character Marlon was. He spoke slowly with frequent pauses, evidently trying to find the right words for his friend.

“Genuinely, he would have been one of, if not the most kind hearted young lads I knew. He was always first to help other people. If there was a new guy in the class he was the kind of guy who would look out for how that guy was getting on.

“He was the one to make other people comfortable. He wanted everything to be good. A really fucking decent lad. That’s the saddest part of all, he was a genuine, proper nice lad.”

Will described the moment he heard of Marlon’s death.

“I was actually working in Hungary that weekend and a guy James Brennan sent me a Facebook message, he would have known Marlon even better still. Me and Marlon never fell out we just lost touch, he was kind of gone from the gym, I was messaging him and stuff but we never really saw each other for the last year or so.

“He just sent me a message saying Marlon’s dead. I rang him straight away on messenger. I presumed it was more like carbon monoxide poisoning. They weren’t 100% sure it was suicide then, he has two kids, why would he kill himself.”

Mental health and martial arts is a subject Will feels is misunderstood.

Despite the benefits of martial arts, Will said people who compete are possibly more prone to mental health issues.

He expanded: “You are in a non-stable situation. Marlon had a few losses on the bounce. For some that really hits hard, and I guess it does for everyone because it is such a big part of who you see yourself as. It’s a dangerous game in some ways.”

Will emphasised that nothing positive could emerge from Marlon’s death. He stated that the GoFundMe page was a small way of helping Marlon’s partner and young children.

“Situations like this are so bleak and there is so little you can do to put a positive spin on it. Maybe this is that one thing,” he said.

You can contribute to the page here https://www.gofundme.com/marlon-family-fund

The gratitude of Will to those who have helped so far was apparent.

He added: “The amount of money raised is way beyond what I thought it was going to be originally.”


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