At an unregulated amateur MMA event last week in Michigan, competitor Felix Pablo Elochukwu died in the match. There were no doctors on site and Elochukwu may have had an existing medical condition going into the fight.
Regardless, the UFC had no involvement in this promotion nor do they carry responsibility for it. But at the recent UFC 161 press conference held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC’s director of Canadian, Australian and New Zealand operations mentioned the unfortunate incident.
“What we don’t know is whether or not there were any pre-existing medical conditions that Pablo was suffering from, and in a regulated environment, we would have known that. We also don’t know if the referees were properly trained. We don’t know whether or not there were the appropriate EMTs and ambulances and medical precautions in place. We don’t even know if it was a fair fight as far as if the competitors were evenly balanced.”
There is little known about the details of why there was no medical staff on site at the Michigan event.
“Those are kinds of things we would know if the sport had been regulated, if the event had been regulated. It speaks to the importance of regulation in our sport, why it’s important that we have the appropriate kind of rigor and standards, from medical care to pre- and post-fight medical testing to drug testing to insuring the health and safety of these athletes is always first and foremost. And in the case of an unregulated event, you don’t know whether those things are in place, which is why we as an organization have always run to regulation.”
With risk being in the nature of mixed martial arts, fighters everywhere fear the reality that a fighter can die. It is a violent sport and when you combine that with irresponsible regulations (or lack thereof), disaster can strike, and it did.
UFC 161 takes place June 15 at the MTS Center.