Justin Thornton, who fought 24 times in MMA and was 0-1 in BKFC, died following his knockout loss at BKFC 20 in August. He was 38-years-old.
Thornton, who was making his Bare Knuckle debut at BKFC 20 on August 20 in Mississippi, took on Dillon Cleckler, who was 2-0 in BKFC in a heavyweight bout. Both men also had MMA experience as Thornton was 6-18 and Cleckler was 11-1. It seemed like a mismatch on paper and it was exactly that as Cleckler KO’d Thornton in just 19 seconds and Thornton left the ring on a stretcher and immediately was taken to the hospital.
— SEATTLE MIKE (@fightswfriends) August 21, 2021
Now, over a month later, Justin Thornton passed away. He had been hospitalized since the fight, including being on a ventilator, but the cause of death has not been revealed. MyMMANews was first to report the news, and BKFC president, David Feldman confirmed the sad news on Monday.
“This morning we were very saddened to be notified of the passing of one of our fighters, Justin Thornton, who competed at BKFC 20 on August 20, 2021,” BKFC President Dave Feldman said in a prepared statement. “We join the rest of the combat sports community in sending our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”
According to reports, Thornton was partially paralyzed from the brutal KO loss and was fighting off an infection from a spinal cord injury.
Thornton was 6-18 in MMA and in his last MMA fight he fought Lex McMahon who is the Titan FC COO where he suffered a first-round submission loss back in November of 2020. He did fight notable opponents like Walt Harris, Chase Sherman, Michael Lombardo, Austen Lane, and Quentin Henry in his career. His BKFC debut was also a rematch with Cleckler as the two fought back in 2013 with Cleckler winning.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Thornton’s family and friends during this difficult time.