Dillon Cleckler issued a statement after his opponent Justin Thornton died following their recent bare-knuckle boxing fight for BKFC.
On Monday, news broke that Thornton had died as a result of injuries sustained in his recent BKFC fight in August. In that fight, Cleckler knocked Thornton out and he faceplanted and was left partially paralyzed. After hearing the news that Thornton died, Cleckler took to his social media to release a heartfelt statement about his opponent’s death. According to Cleckler, Thornton’s cause of death was actually pneumonia.
Dillon Cleckler: As a fighter nothing prepares you for the news I received this morning on my way to training. Some of you may not of heard yet but my last opponent Justin Thornton passed away last night due to pneumonia. I can’t help but feel absolutely devastated about this because I’ve known Justin for years. Not many people know this but we fought 8 years ago and he told me right away he wanted the rematch. I know that when he got the phone call to finally get that rematch on a bigger stage he saw a huge opportunity and took it. Justin is a warrior. It’s in his blood to fight. He loved it. He fought anyone, anytime and anywhere and when I didn’t have an opponent, he still jumped at the opportunity to get in there with me again. Any man or woman who steps in the ring or the cage is special, they take a risk that 99.99% of the world would never take and sometimes I still don’t know why we do it … but Justin was a fighter his entire life and deserves nothing but respect!!! My thoughts and prayers are with Justin Thornton and his family at this time. RIP warrior
We here at BJPenn.com send our deepest sympathies to the family of Justin Thornton, Dillon Cleckler, and everyone else who was affected by this terrible tragedy.