Beloved Glendale MMA coach dies, legacy left shared by many

PHOENIX - A beloved Glendale boxing and MMA gym coach is being remembered by the community as being someone who loved helping people and helping them find a purpose in their life.

Cesar Peraza's family says he passed away unexpectedly over the weekend.  Since immigrating to the United States when he was younger from El Salvador his daughter says he had a tough time adjusting to a new life in America.  he had a tough time adjusting to being a minority and because of his rough upbringing, he wanted to make sure no one ever felt the way he did when he was a kid.

So he dedicated himself to being a light for others and he used his gym to provide that outlet for others who were feeling lost or were struggling with a tough time.

Daisy, who stopped by his memorial in front of Peraza's Boxing and MMA gym in Glendale said Peraza would always welcome her with a fist bump and took a genuine interest in helping her overcome a bad relationship.  She said his classes helped her through that.

"He impacted their lives in some way they've just been reaching out in some way and it's just been a he help by our side," said Danielle Hurst, Peraza's daughter.   

One of Peraza's biggest passions was helping troubled teens and youth.  He wanted to make sure they never turned to a life of crime and drugs and he used his gym and the Glendale Police Department to do that.

"They would organize together and they would do a lot of things for the kids and try to keep the youth off the streets and out of gangs and away from drugs, and that was a huge part of his mission," said his daughter Danielle Hurst. 

His family says they appreciate the love and support and they are happy to see that Peraza touched so many lives.  

Peraza was set to open a new gym on 43rd Avenue and Union Hills which his family plans to make a reality. They say they want to continue the legacy he left behind and continue to help people in need.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by family with funds raised going toward funeral costs and potentially opening the second gym. 

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