R.I.P. Mike Bernardo

Some weeks ago, I posted a couple of pieces about ‘Old Kickboxers Never Die, they just end up in the can – or the hospital.’ Sadly, Mike Bernardo has proven me wrong. He killed himself on February 14 at the age of 42 after a long battle with depression and anxiety. 

I grew up during the golden age of K1 – Ernesto Hoost, Jerome Le Banner, Sam Greco, Peter Aerts and Mike Bernardo. He was beaten by all these fighters, but beat each of them – most often by KO – in turn. I remember Bernardo being the biggest of big men, who brought with him a fearsome knockout punch.

He had been a physical activity instructor in the navy and excelled at a host of sports, especially rugby. He made the transition to fighting, however, after being sent off the rugby field one time too many. He became a highly successful kickboxer and boxer, retiring at age 34 due to a neck injury.

Bernardo went on to qualify as a clinical psychologist, founding his own clinic in Cape Town which offered trauma and addiction counselling for troubled youth.

From the look of things, he knew all about it.

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One Response to “R.I.P. Mike Bernardo”

  1. What a tragedy, depression and mental illness are real killers and this proves you cant out tough them. Ive been involved with depression support groups for many many years and for readers who in any way identify with the symptoms I would recommend you first get yourself to a psychiatrist and trust in the incredible science behind modern medicine which has saved countless lives and then visit a support group such as http://www.grow.net.au/ which is the 12 step depression equivalent of AA in Australia and has excellent results and a very loving community. In fact everyone should visit a grow meeting if only to lend an ear or kind word to people who are in desperate need, I can think of no finer community service.

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