Najai “Nitro” Turpin, 23, shot himself in the head.
Najai “Nitro” Turpin was one of 16 boxers in the coming NBC show “The Contender” but had been eliminated early.
There’s no hesitation at all from NBC that the show must go on. Had Najai “Nitro” Turpin ben the winner, that decision most likely would have been different.
Death sure is good publicity for a reality TV show. Good ratings or bust as the old Western saying goes.
Powered by Sidelines
USA TODAY: Turpin shot himself in the head while sitting with his girlfriend in a parked car outside the West Philadelphia gym where he trained, police told the Associated Press.
Investigators were unsure why Turpin took his life.
The latest from producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice), the series starts March 7 (8:30 p.m. ET/PT) and will run as planned.
The Contender completed taping last fall except for the finale, a live prize bout scheduled for May. Turpin was eliminated earlier in the competition, which pits two boxers in each episode and allows the winner to advance.
The episode that features Turpin will be dedicated to him and will solicit donations to a trust fund to benefit his family.
NBC promotional materials say Turpin was orphaned at 18 when his mother died. He cared for a younger brother, sister, niece and nephew while holding down jobs doing road work and cleaning seafood.
He also left a 2-year-old daughter along with his girlfriend, who appears in the show.