Rumors about UFC vet Kimo Leopoldo's death plagued Internet sites in recent months, due to a confirmation from TMZ.com that said that Leopoldo had died from heart attack complications in Costa Rica.
TMZ founder Harvey Levin told FiveKnuckles.com exclusively that they had received the tip that Leopoldo had died from the fighter's management.
"We actually got a call from his reps," said Levin. He now, looking back on the issue, thinks that it might have been motivated by publicity.
While Levin would not reveal the name of the person who contacted TMZ, he did explicitly say that the confirmation came though Leopoldo's camp.
"There are a lot of people who just want to - and I'm not saying [Leopoldo] - but representatives that want to get their name out there in all sorts of ways," Levin said. "And somebody there clearly did."
However, Leopoldo's lawyer, Stephen Doniger, is still in the process of filing a lawsuit against TMZ. Initially, Doniger and Leopoldo wanted to settle the matter without going to court, but TMZ has not responded to Doniger's attempts at communicating.
Levin has taken the original "confirmed" story down and published an article saying that Leopoldo is still alive, but viewers are still able to find other articles about Leopoldo's "death" on TMZ.com
TMZ is still looking back on their "confirmed" story and wondering how they could have fallen for it. They are still debating it in the newsroom, said Levin.
The popular entertainment site has a full-time lawyer on staff.
TMZ is well known for breaking other death stories, such as those of Michael Jackson, DJ AM and Anna Nicole Smith.