Warning: Distressing Content
Portuguese MMA Fighter João Carvalho has died two days after a TKO defeat at the hands of Charlie Ward in Dublin.
Carvalho was taken ill 20 minutes after the fight, reports The Guardian, and was rushed to Beaumont hospital where he received emergency brain surgery.
The 28-year-old did not recover and news of his tragic death was confirmed via his Nóbrega team’s Facebook page.
As reported by RTE, the statement read:
It is with great sorrow and sadness that we write these words, that the death of the athlete João Carvalho happened after 48 hours in critical condition.
On the site [Carvalho] was immediately assisted by the medical team and then quickly transported to the hospital Beaumont, where he was subjected to a brain surgical intervention, after which the athlete remained in critical condition during the 48 hours following, eventually passing away on this Monday at 21:35 hours.
Ward, a teammate of Conor McGregor, fights out of Dublin’s Straight Blast Gym, and coach John Kavanagh extended the team’s condolences via Facebook:
Footage, reportedly captured at the event on Saturday night, shows the fight ending with Carvalho taking repeated blows to the head.
Following the intervention of the fight doctor at UFC Zagreb, and the failure of the referee to halt Nick Blackwell’s fight with Chris Eubank Jr. sooner, this latest tragic incident raises serious concerns that referees are too slow to act when the health of fighters is in jeopardy.
Total Extreme Fighting released the following statement:
The TEF Team are deeply saddened by the news of Team Carvalho’s death. Last night 11th of April, mixed martial artist Joao Carvalho passed away after two days of the best medical care and treatment in Beaumont hospital following his three-round TKO stoppage defeat on Saturday 9th April at the National Stadium in Dublin.
Cesar Silva, CEO of TEF, added:
We extend our most sincere condolences to the family of João Carvalho’s and his team-mates 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 João’s family.
We have been in contact with his family and they have requested that we all understand their need for privacy at this difficult time.
It is worth noting that MMA’s leading promotion, the UFC, has never experienced the death of a fighter in competition, but Carvalho’s passing serves as a tragic reminder that fighter safety needs to be paramount.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Carvalho at this time.