Billy Craparo, a trailblazer in the local New Jersey MMA scene who encapsulated what it meant to be a blue collar fighter in the early, pre-Zuffa days of the sport.
Here's what I posted on Craparo when he passed in 2009:
Northeast MMA has lost one of its pioneers, as former Pitts Penn fighter Billy Craparo has passed away. A capable slugger and competent grappler, Craparo once waged a stand-up war with Fight Factory's Judah Ciervo at BAMA FightNight and later submitted Rhino Fight Team's Jay Coleman at a Ring of Combat - two promotions that pretty much covered the spectrum of the Garden State MMA scene, and two examples of how Craparo was a part of it all along. It's a tight-knit community out here, and Craparo will be sorely missed.Whether he was repping the "bad boys" and putting cops in the hospital while fighting in the BAMA Fight Night ring, or inspiring teammates in the training room, Craparo impacted the lives of many in his short time on Earth. May he rest in peace.