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UPDATE: Local MMA fighter dies in jail after agreeing to plead to child porn charges
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UPDATE: Local MMA fighter dies in jail after agreeing to plead to child porn charges

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WATERLOO – A local mixed martial arts fighter has died in jail a day after agreeing to plead guilty to child porn charges.

According to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Travis “Iron Man” Jon Fulton, 44, of Parkersburg and formerly of Cedar Falls, was found unresponsive in a dormitory-style cell block at the Linn County Jail shortly before 4 a.m. Saturday.

Deputies believe he hung himself, according to the sheriff’s office. The exact method of hanging wasn’t disclosed for security reasons. An autopsy will be conducted by the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office.

Correctional staff started performing lifesaving measures, including CPR, and paramedics arrived within minutes and provided advanced medical care and transported him to Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids. He was pronounced deceased at 5 a.m.

Fulton was housed at the Linn County Jail in Cedar Rapids, awaiting the outcome of federal sexual exploitation of a child charges in U.S. District Court for Northern Iowa, also in Cedar Rapids.

His defense team had challenged a search warrant that led to the seizure of electronic devices and digital storage where investigators found child pornography images.

Judges ruled in favor of the government, upholding the searches in two rulings, the most recent of which came Thursday.

Fulton responded Friday by filing a notice that he intended to plead guilty to sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography charges, according to court records. The charges relate to the abuse of a girl and images on a flash drive seized by investigators.

A plea hearing had been scheduled for July 23 in front of a magistrate.

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Fulton also was awaiting the outcome of charges in Black Hawk County where he was accused of repeatedly punching a woman in the head and threatening to kill her in Waterloo in September 2019.

Fulton, a professional boxer, has been involved in mixed martial arts since 1996 and has been in a record 320 fights including two UFC bouts.

According to court records, Fulton was accused of persuading a 13-year-old girl to take part in meditation and to remove her clothing with the exception of her underwear. He allegedly placed her in a trance and performed a sex act, records state.

When initially questioned by investigators, Fulton admitted to the meditation session but denied any physical touching took place, according to court records. He told authorities he had been accused of rape in the past “because people know who he is,” records state.

In court, the defense challenged the seizure of electronic devices during the search of this home because they weren’t listed on the search warrant.

The government said investigators had intended to seize the items and had included them in the application for the warrant. The computer program used by investigators to write the documents usually carried over the list of items requested to be seized from the application and placed them on the warrant itself.

For some reason, not all items on the list were carried over to the warrant, and authorities later noticed the issue and submitted subsequent search warrant applications.

A federal magistrate initially dismissed the defense motion to suppress the evidence because of deadline issues. But a district court judge revisited the issue, ultimately siding with the government in a ruling filed on Thursday.

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