Help bring NJ’s beloved sumo wrestler ‘Manny’ Yarbrough home for his funeral
It's time to bring Emanuel Yarbrough home.
The Rahway native, sumo wrestler and mixed martial artist — who famously held the Guinness World Record for the heaviest living athlete — died Monday from a heart attack.
Friends supporting his family are looking to raise $18,000 to bring Yarbrough — affectionately known as "Tiny" and "Manny" — back to New Jersey so his family can bury him here.
Manager Bess Davis said while Yarbrough's fame spanned decades, he hadn't worked much in recent months. And there are costs associated with transporting someone of Yarbrough's impressive size. Though he'd lost some weight recently, at his largest he reportedly topped 880 pounds.
"His mother needs the help," Davis said. "These aren't rich people."
"He had a giving heart and often gave people his last, however he did not have any extra for himself," the fundraiser's creator, Tyrone McQueen wrote on a GoFundMe page. "The money will be used to help Manny go home and to assist his grieving mother, Ms. Rosie Yarbrough, during this difficult time. This would mean so much to his family to have him home. Let us provide Manny with the love and respect he deserves."
As of Saturday morning, the fundraiser had collected more than $12,000 — bringing it nearly two-thirds of the way to its goal. More than 200 people had chipped in.
Yarbrough was known as perhaps the most famous sumo wrestler outside of Japan, having made countless media appearances on late-night talk shows and at charity events. He'd also fought with the UFC in the 1990s.
He'd been a fierce proponent of programs to help children battle obesity and cancer.
"He'd want to motivate the kids to lose weight," Davis said. "He'd tell them, 'I'm a prisoner in my own body.'"
Yarbrough had several television and movie roles, including as Clarence Seroy on HBO's "Oz."
Davis described her friend and client as a "very caring and very personable person."
"He had a personality and a charisma you just couldn't escape. The moment he talked to you, it touched you," she said.