Jason David Frank: How late 'Power Rangers' actor went from being karate master to mixed martial artist
AUSTIN, TEXAS: Jason David Frank, one of the original 'Power Rangers', has reportedly died by suicide at the age of 49. The actor and mixed martial artist's rep Justine Hunt confirmed he died in Texas. Frank is best known as Tommy Oliver from the original run of the 'Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' franchise.
A statement from his agent read, according to TMZ, "Please respect the privacy of his family and friends during this horrible time as we come to terms with the loss of such a wonderful human being. He loved his family, friends and fans very much. He will truly be missed.”
The actor, who was constantly in the spotlight, said his fans were his friends. "I've got a lot of fans, but I say friends, because every time I meet a fan somewhere around the world, I don't consider them a fan, I consider them as a friend," Frank said on the Free Roll Radio Show . "I got thousands of friends around the world that I'm nice to. I've never said no to one autograph, no matter how bad of a mood I was in. I always wanted to make their day and talk to them and create friends instead of just fans."
Besides his career in acting, his passion for martial arts is worth being noted. He was an 8th Dan Shotokan Karate black belt, with black belts in Wado-Ryu Karate, Taekwondo, and Judo. He was also a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Frank fought four times in MMA as an amateur back in 2010, going 4-0 with 2 KOs and two submissions over a five-month stretch. He then went on to win his sole professional MMA fight via first-round submission. He was seeking to get signed by Strikeforce, hoping to fight Herschel Walker.
“I’d love to get a Strikeforce deal. I want a Strikeforce deal,” he said after his first pro win. “I keep talking about it all the time. I know my manager’s talked to them briefly. It’s just I want to build my record and do it the right way, and let me people know I can go more than one round.”
“I’ve been studying [martial arts] since I was four years old. Yeah, I did the Power Rangers show. That might make Dana [White] snicker, or someone else snicker from another organization, ‘Oh it’s just another guy trying it out.’ This is my life. I live and breathe martial arts my whole entire life ever since I was four years old," he added.
A Strikeforce contract, however, did not materialize. Frank never got to compete in MMA again following a bicep injury that pulled him out of his second pro fight.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).