Najai Turpin

Professional Boxer, Boxer

1981 – 2005


Who was Najai Turpin?

Najai Turpin was a professional boxer born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

He was a contestant on reality TV show The Contender. On the show, he was placed on the East Coast team and pitted himself against Sergio Mora, a man seven inches taller than he was, in the first round.

He committed suicide on February 14, 2005, while sitting in a car with his girlfriend and 2-year-old daughter. The motive for his suicide was not entirely clear. However, the fact that he had not been allowed to fight between the time of his elimination from The Contender and the show's finale, along with the low self-esteem that may have resulted from his defeat on the show may have contributed to his suicide. Another contributing factor is considered to be the ongoing custody battle for his daughter.

Turpin was the first American reality show contestant to take his own life, but there have been examples elsewhere in the world. In 1997, Sinisa Savija, the first person ever voted off Expedition Robinson killed himself immediately after the episode aired. Najai Turpin's initials were imprinted on Ishe Oluwa Ali Smith's shorts during a match, and the episode in which Najai fought was dedicated to him.

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Dec 19, 1981
  • African American
  • United States of America
Lived in
  • Philadelphia
Feb 14, 2005

on July 23, 2013


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