MMA fighter dies of head injuries after TKO loss

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DUBLIN, Ireland — The dangers  of extreme sports came to light on Monday after a mixed martial arts fighter died of injuries sustained in a bout Saturday night, a match he lost by TKO.

Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho died at a hospital on Monday following a loss to Charlie Ward at Total Extreme Fighting 1 in Dublin’s National Stadium.

Carvalho’s coach confirmed his death in a Facebook post on the Team Nobrega page.

A translation of the message, as provided by SB Nation‘s subsidiary MMA site Bloody Elbow, reads as follows:

“During a TEF-MMA event that took place on Saturday, at the National Boxing Stadium, in Dublin, where all safety rules were followed and in a bout where the referee followed all the correct and usual procedures. Joao “Rafeiro” Carvalho felt unwell about 20 minutes after the fight.

“Still in the venue, he was assisted by the local medical team and then quickly transferred to the Beaumont Hospital, where he underwent a surgical cerebral intervention after which he remained in critical state for the next 48 hours until his passing, this Monday, at 9:35 p.m.

“Despite the permanent medical assistance provided by both the organization and the hospital, for whom we are very thankful and despite the risks this sport involves, Joao’s passing, in our professional point of view, was a huge misfortune. He leaves his family and us from Nobrega Team, who have been by his side throughout his career, deeply sad.

“It’s with a huge weight in our hearts that we present our most sincere condolences to his family and all the Nobrega Team.”

UFC star Conor McGregor said he thought the fight should have ended sooner. Photo by Getty Images

UFC star Conor McGregor said he thought the fight should have ended sooner. Photo by Getty Images

UFC star Conor McGregor, teammate of Charlie Ward, was in attendance and immediately following the bout told MMAConnectTV he thought the fight should have ended sooner.

“My teammate Charlie had a good win just there. Hell of a fight. Your man [Carvalho] took some big shots,” McGregor said. “Thought it could have been stopped a little earlier. I feel these referees need to be on the ball a little bit.”

McGregor’s Facebook page posted the news with the caption, “Tragic news from the event McGregor himself attended. Our condolences go to Carvalho’s family, friends, and team.”

Cesar Silva, CEO of Total Extreme Fighting, issued a statement saying, “We extend our most sincere condolences to the family of João Carvalho’s and his teammates in Team Nobrega. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We’d also like to thank all sports fans for their concern and support. We will give whatever support we can to Joao’s family.”

Bloody Elbow cites Carvalho’s death as the fifth fatality in a sanctioned MMA fight since 2007. There have been at least 8 reported deaths in unsanctioned bouts since 1981.