01/10/2013 02:00 EST | Updated 03/12/2013 05:12 EDT

James Rajbhandari Charged In Death Of MMA Fighter, Pioneer Wyatt Lewis


CALGARY -- Police have charged a Calgary man with second-degree murder in the death of a mixed martial arts fighter who is said to have pioneered the sport in southern Alberta.

Wyatt Lewis, who was 37, died last September after being stabbed in a fight between two groups.

He was originally from Lethbridge, Alta., where he gave mixed martial arts a profile.

Lewis stopped competing in 2008, but continued to train and teach the sport when he moved to Calgary.

Members of the province's mixed martial arts community say they are relieved that someone has been arrested.

James Rajbhandari, who is 26, was scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

"It means a lot that someone has been found for sure but, at the same time, what's done is done,'' said Brad Wall of the Progressive Fighting Academy in Lethbridge. ``You can't bring Wyatt back, so it's always going to be a tough thing.''

Nick Ring, an Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter, knew Lewis and fought against him in 2003.

"He was a fierce competitor,'' Ring said. "Outside of the ring, Wyatt was the kind of guy who had a very strong sense of moral values and (was) very much a strong, silent type,very strong in his beliefs and convictions.''

Ring said Lewis's death was a blow to the whole MMA community in Alberta.

Lewis was a self-employed pipefitter who left behind a wife and four children.