Has Anyone Ever Died in the UFC?

Do you know why some people presume that UFC puts the lives of fighters in danger?

It is because this game is famous for its harshness. Most people think this warfare game is more destructive than others because of its liberal codes of conduct. Moreover, this sport follows the principle of a large amount of compassion to turmoil. Due to this reason, some nations forbid MMA tournaments.

However, the codes of conduct of MMA strengthened in 2001 in America, the biggest market of the game. Moreover, MMA has distinct rules in the territory to stave off hazardous scenarios. Despite this many regulations, mishaps and accidents still occur.

So, let us see how many fighters died in the Octagon in UFC. We will also take a look at whether any deaths happen outside of the UFC.

Has Anyone Ever Been in a UFC Fight And Lost Their Life?

The answer is no. No one from any UFC ground lost their lives in the Octagon, which may be due to how well the law system has formed.

However, it is awful to tell you that other Mixed Martial Arts fighters that are not part of UFC have sacrificed their lives for fighting. Also, about whom we are going to talk about in the further sections of our article.

Who Lost Their Lives in MMA?

In April 2019, there were almost seven deaths in authorized MMA tournaments. Also, if we talk about unregulated games, then there were nine deaths till now.

Now take a detailed outlook upon all those fighters who expired while fighting in games.

Also read: How Do UFC Fighters Cut Weight?

Mishaps in Authorized MMA Fights

Here is a list of some of the fighters who lost their lives during authorized fights with the reason for their deaths:

1. Sammy Vasquez

At the age of 35, Sammy Vasquez lost his life due to obstacles caused by blunt injury of the skull with a subdued hemorrhage. On 20 October 2007, he lost consciousness during the Renegades Extreme in Houston, Texas. Also, from there, they took him to the Critical Care Unit of Saint Joseph Medical Center. He remained in a coma for about 48 hours until his demise on 30 November 2007. 

He was the main combatant to perish from traumas endured in an authorized MMA fight in North America.

2. Michael K Kirkham

Michael, aged 30, two days after the fight happened on 28 June 2010, lost his life because of subarachnoid bleeding caused in the brain.

He was fighting with Carlos Iraburo at King MMA Confrontation at the main campus of the University of South Carolina Aiken. Before landing Kirkham down in the ring, Iraburo lands several thumps on his head. Due to that, Michael lost his responsiveness and never healed.

3. Tyrone Mims

Tyrone Mims died mysteriously on 11 August 2012, at the age of 30. In Mount Pleasant of South Carolina, he fought with a beginner at the Fight Night MMA show at Point 4. After the second performance of the fight, Tyronne became very weak and exhausted. So, the referee halted the trial because he could not begin again.

Soon, with the support, he returned to the locker room. There, he lost consciousness, and the authorities declared him dead that evening. His autopsy report failed to confirm the reason for his death. Also, there was no evidence of brain trauma or shock. His toxicology report also did not observe any presence of alcohol or drugs in his body.

4. Boot Guylain

On 27 February 2014, Boot Guylain, aged 29, had his last fight with Keron Davies. The fight was in the EFC AFRICA 27 of Johannesburg. During the trial, he got a massive injury in his head.

Somehow, his condition became steady on-site. They then took him to the medical center. Due to the complications that occurred due to the swelling in the brain, he died on 5 March 2014.

5. Donshay White

After losing an authorized beginner heavyweight session named ‘Hardrock MMA 90’ against the fighter Ricky Muse, Donshay White collapsed backstage. The fight was held on 16 July 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky. In a panic, the crew took him to the medical care available there, where authorities announced him dead.

The reason for death was a hypertensive heart infection. However, the autopsy indicated that Donshay was tolerating raised blood pressure for so long, but he was not taking medication for it, and due to negligence, he lost his life like that.

6. Rondel Clark

Rondel Clark fought in the tournament named Cage Titans XXXV held in Plymouth, Massachusetts. After three days of this fight, Clark expired in August 2017. He died at the age of 26. Within the two minutes of the third course, Clark started feeling fatigued and said he did not want to defend further, and the referee declared a TKO win for Dunn. 

Clark was having difficulty breathing, and after the post-fight medical examination, they carried him to the hospital. He died in the Medical Center of Beth Israel Deaconess. The autopsy report concluded that he died due to the immediate deterioration of muscle fiber resulting from physical overexertion integrated with dehydration.

7. Mateus Fernandes

Mateus Fernandes expired at the age of 22, a few hours after a beginner session with Obed Pereira. The fight happened in the tournament named Romulus Fight in Manaus, Brazil, in March 2019. After the initial two rounds, his opponent knocked him down to the ground by a sequence of punches. As a result, the referee stopped the game. 

Fernandes then declared having seizures. So, they transported him to the Emergency Center of Raimundo. At the medical center, he suffered at least four heart strokes before dying at 11.45 pm.

People alleged that Fernandes spent the whole night taking drugs, although he was part of a project that supported people in dealing with drug addiction through learning martial arts. He got approval in his pre-fight blood exams, but he did not have a brain or heart scan before the trial. So, no one came to know about his intake of drugs until his death.

Also read: MMA vs UFC – 5 Key Differences

Victims in Unauthorized MMA Fights

Here is a list of some of the fighters who lost their lives during unauthorized fights with the reason for their deaths:

1. Alfredo C. Herrera

Alfredo C. Herrera died on 14 April 1981, at the age of 15. He had an unauthorized fight with Angel L. Rodriguez in the city of Tijuana, Mexico. The famous newspaper named this fight boxing blended with judo and karate. The reason for the death of Alfredo is still unknown and not revealed.

2. Douglas Dedge

Two days after fighting at an unauthorized World Super Challenge in Kyiv, Ukraine, Douglas Dedge died on 18 March 1998. He died at the age of 31. After taking many blows on the head, Douglas stood again but fell back to the canvas. 

The authorities took him to the Surgery Institute of Kyiv, where he expired after two days due to severe brain injuries. In a medical report of Dedge, they wrote that the man collapsed during his training session before the contest. However, people believed that he died from certain existing medical conditions.

3. Lee

Lee died at 35 in an unauthorized MMA trial held in a games bar in South Korea on 12 May 2005. No one took his physical exams before the trial. So, his actual physical condition is unknown before combat. Yet, in the medical report, they listed heart attack as the reason for death.

4. Mike Mittelmeier

Mike died at 20, resulting from a session in Bolivia on 21 April. After knocking down his opponent and giving a leg lock, the opponent made an illegal move by hitting his heel on the head of Mike. That illegal move knocked him out. The referee halted the fight, and Mittelmeier won the combat by disqualification.

After some seconds of declaration of result, he fell, and doctors analyzed him with a medical condition of cerebral injury that took him to comatose. The authorities allegedly did not own any medical facility on-site, so he was late in getting medical treatment. He expired a week after the fight on April 27.

5. Dustin Jenson

Jenson participated in the event Ring Wars on 18 May 2012, in Rapid City of South Dakota. Before going back to the locker room, Jenson watched the next two fights of the tournament. After reaching the locker room, he experienced an attack.

The authorities took him to the hospital. Due to complications, he died after a week. The doctors declared the reason for his death was subdural hemorrhage caused due to the blunt pressure concussion to the head, related to his injury experienced a week before.

6. Felix P. Elochukwu

Felix, at 35, died after finishing his first beginner MMA trial in the Fighting Club of Amateur in April 2013. The trial was in Port Huron in Michigan. As per reports, neither Felix nor his competitor instructed pre-fight medicals. In the third session, his rival mounted him without giving him a chance to defend himself. After that, the referee stopped the fight and declared his opponent the winner.

Elochukwu looked fine. However, on his walk back to the changing room, he stopped and kept saying he was tired. The crowd thought his level of blood sugar declined, so they gave him juice. Felix soon fell from the seat he was sitting on. 

The authorities called the ER, but they arrived after 40 minutes of his fall. People tried to revive him with CPR but remained unsuccessful. Elochukwu was confirmed deceased at around 10 pm. The tragic death of the fighter oversaw the legislature of Michigan supervising MMA in the nation soon after.

7. Jameston Lee-Yaw

Jameston died in 2015 at the age of 47 while contending in a beginner MMA trial. The trial was at the SouthShore Mall in the city of Aberdeen in Washington. In Washington, there is no need to have medical staff present at a gym for amateur sessions. So, no medical help was being on-site.

Lee-Yaw fell in the arena, and the authorities carried him to the dressing room. They took him to the hospital when he started having trouble breathing. In the Medical Center of Harborview, he died due to kidney failure. No one knows till now what caused his kidney failure.

8. Ramin Zeynalov

Zeynalov died in March 2015 at the age of 27 while playing against a beginner MMA session in his birth city Azerbaijan. His rival beat his head and took him down in the ring. The medical staff was unable to resuscitate him. So they declared him dead. In the medical report, doctors concluded brain hemorrhage as the root of death.

9. João Carvalho

The then-28-year-old Carvalho died in April 2016, after the tournament of Total Extreme Fighting 1 in Dublin against Charlie Ward. The reason for death was never disclosed but directed to the Irish congress governing MMA in the nation. 

At the time of his death, no regulating body for the maintenance of skilled MMA was present in Ireland. So, the Pankration Association for Irish Amateurs oversaw the game at the beginner level.

Also read: Best Wrestlers in UFC

Was There Anyone Who Died From Weight Cutting?

The answer is yes. Some fighters lost their battle against life. In the championship of Asian ONE, Chinese fighter Yang J. Bing died in December 2015 when he was 21 years old. He lost his life in fulfilling the weight cut with Geje Eustaquio at the Spirit of Champions. 

His brutal death resulted in changing the way they weigh fighters. He died of a condition called Rhabdomyolysis, in which tissues of muscles break down that direct the discharge of muscle fiber into the bloodstream.

Leandro Souza, a well-known MMA fighter, also died in 2013 after collapsing during the weigh-cut in Brazil. As per reports, they declared that he had been eating diuretics to gain the stipulated weight.

Also read: Bloodiest UFC Fights

Will the UFC Get Rid of Weight Cuts?

No, there are not any indications of making it forbidden yet. Moreover, there are not any clues of them enlisting as strict a batch of weight-cutting stratagems as ONE drew in after the death of Bing. Though they rely on motivating the fighters to work out, eat healthy and nutritious food, not consume snacks in meals, and intake surplus water. 

The authorities consider it a more incremental procedure than weight-cutting as these methods are more favorable for your physique. The more aspects for councils to assess include testing the weight of muscle and masses and the water level in the fighters body, and random weight tests like ONE Championship ease candidates from doing too much weight cutting.

Summing It Up

So, folks, an aggregate of sixteen deaths happened in MMA tournaments. Although intriguing, this article offers you an unhappy phase of warfare games. Plus, it unearths some issues of contemporary MMA. MMA is safer as compared to boxing despite the above-discussed tragedies that happened.

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