Scotty Dingas was a championship winning Muay Thai fighter in Thailand.
The instructor at Undisputed gym in City Heights won the hearts of students like a tearful Alejandro Marquez.
“We miss him and thank you for everything he's done for us and for being a motivational person to us," Marquez said.
Dingas lost the biggest fight of his life Thursday night after a hit-and-run driver plowed into his motorcycle as well as another on the 10000 block of Clairemont Mesa in Tierra Santa.
Friends said the 43-year-old San Diego man loved motorcycles and muscle cars.
His boss and instructor biography say he served in the Navy on Special Forces operations in the Persian Gulf and Africa.
When he returned to the states, he promoted martial arts to help veterans deal with PTSD and children to stay off the streets and improve their lives.
"I was really into gang banging, “ explains student Mariana Lara.
"Scotty took me under his wing," said 13-year-old Alfonso Gutierrez who’d trained under Dingas for the past year.
During that time Gutierrez’s father says some of his grades shot up to A's, and he's no longer been bullied thanks to Dingas and his motivational influences.
“For me it said I can do the impossible. Do more than I think I can. It really hurts with him gone," Gutierrez said.
"He’d always be like train! Train! Train!” exclaimed Lara. “Hey what are you doing? Why are you outside? Why aren’t you in here. It’s Friday, you should be here."
Dingas' impact was evident from the time you walked through the Undisputed’s doors.
There are signs lamenting his loss and flowers on the front counter. Students like Alejandro Marquez vow never to forget his kindness in their time of need.
“He gave me a bag full of gear in order for me to keep going. Now that he's gone I’ll keep going in his honor," Gutierrez said.
Friends are hoping the person driving a white Pontiac Grand Am, who hit Scotty and ran, will do the honorable thing and surrender.