Friday 28 October 2016

SBG coach John Kavanagh 'devastated' after MMA fighter left in critical condition

Tom Rooney

Published 11/04/2016 | 18:38

SBG Ireland head coach John Kavanagh has expressed his sadness and concern for the Portuguese fighter currently in critical condition after suffering a technical knockout loss at an MMA event in Dublin over the weekend.

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Joao Carvalho was rushed to hospital on Saturday night after his third round TKO loss to Charlie Ward in a welterweight contest at Total Extreme Fighting 1 at the National Stadium.

Immediately after the bout Carvalho was given a standard check up by the attending medical staff in the arena’s medical office and was thought to be fine, but became ‘very ill’ roughly 20 minutes later before being taken to Beaumont Hospital, where he is still receiving treatment. 

Carvalho’s gym, Nóbrega team, published a report on their Facebook page soon after which confirmed that their "athlete, warrior, friend and brother" was hospitalised following the fight.

Earlier today, Cesar Silva, the CEO of Total Extreme Championship, issued a statement on Joao Carvalho’s condition, which also asked for the fighter’s privacy to be respected and thanked the doctors and medical staff who treated him at the National Stadium.

“Our thoughts are with Joao Carvalho, his family and Team Nobrega. Joao’s welfare is our primary focus at this moment in time but we will update you on Joao’s condition as it becomes clearer. If you could respect Joao Carvalho and Team Nobrega’s privacy at this time, it would be greatly appreciated.”

 “The promotion and fighters followed best regulatory practices. We had also three doctors and paramedic staff present on the night. Their presence ensured that the seriousness of Joao’s condition was recognized and swift action taken and we are thankful for their help.

“Serious injuries like this are rare worldwide in MMA but it is important that every possible precaution is taken to ensure every competitor’s welfare.”


Charlie Ward is a member of Team SBG Ireland and was cornered by John Kavanagh for the fight in question. Kavanagh has been a long-time and tireless advocate for the most scrupulous standards of safety in mixed martial arts, professional and amateur.

He has worked closely with Professor Dan Healy, a neurologist at Beaumont Hospital, to educate fighters and coaches around the county on issues of brain injury and trauma that can occur in combat sports.

Kavanagh took to social media to communicate his concern for Joao Carvalho and highlight the rarity of such injuries over the course of MMA’s brief history.

“Absolutely devastated for the family of the young fighter Joao Carvalho who is in a bad condition following a closely contested bout with one of my fighters Saturday night.

“Although over the last 20 years or more there have been 100s of thousands of contests worldwide in 1000s of shows and this tragic outcome is incredibly rare it's not much consolation for the friends and family of Mr.Carvalho who must be besides themselves with worry and deserve to have their privacy respected.

“At this point my only concerns are for the young man and hope the expert medical attention he's receiving can help him through this.”

Kavanagh is the president of the Irish Amateur Pankration Association, the official amateur MMA body in Ireland, which is member of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation. 

Conor McGregor was also in attendance at the event and, in an interview directly after the bout, prior to Carvalho being taken to hospital, the UFC featherweight champion told MMA Connect TV that he felt the referee could have been quicker in calling a halt to the fight.

"Thought it could have been stopped a little earlier. I feel these referee’s need to be on the ball a little bit,” he said.

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