Lynn says Williams should have opened up to his friends instead of trying to be everyone's role model. "It never seemed he let his guard down too much with the guys. He really saw himself as a mentor and as a coach," he says. "I really wish that he would have come to one of us, anybody, and just talked it through—a lot. Not just once or twice, but really talked it through. At the drop of the hat, there would have been a thousand people who would have helped that guy. To me, that's not fair—that's not fair at all."

Dinicola and Lynn—along with Russ Miura and Rick Estrada—co-own the Subfighter gym in Lake Forest. The four were coaches at Apex and decided to start their own gym after Williams' suicide and the subsequent closure of his gym. Subfighter is dedicated to carrying on Williams' memory and philosophy, they say.

"Jeremy created a community that was Apex, and it was kind of our duty as some of the top guys to just carry on," Lynn says. "The first time we had a meeting, probably two days after he passed, everybody wanted to still train together. Everybody still wanted to be together in some way.

Richard and Susan Williams near Strands Beach in Dana Point, where a memorial will be held Monday
Jonathan Ho
Richard and Susan Williams near Strands Beach in Dana Point, where a memorial will be held Monday

"What we have now is different. What Jeremy had will always be special, but it will never be the same," he adds.

Losing his best friend made him more aware of how fragile life can be, Dinicola says. "For me, now, I really value my friends," he says. "Something major like this happens, and it puts things in perspective. You value your life a little bit more; you value your friends a little bit more. If someone's going through a hard time, it's like . . . what if?"

dolson@ocweekly.com

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