Undertaker foots the bill to send dead MMA fighter home
Published 18/04/2016 | 06:40
A north Dublin undertaker will pick up the bill for repatriating the remains of Portuguese MMA victim Joao Carvalho.
The fighter died of head injuries after an MMA bout last week with Irish fighter Charlie Ward.
Carvalho received nine successive blows to the head during the Total Extreme Fighting (TEF) clash at the National Stadium last Saturday week.
He was rushed to Beaumont Hospital within 20 minutes of the fight ending, but died on Monday night.
Post-mortem tests have not yet been completed, and it is not known when the remains will be released by the Coroner Service.
Undertaker Justin Fitzgerald, of Fitzgerald Funeral Directors in Rush, has said he will take care of the body and return it to Lisbon.
Mr Fitzgerald (36) is a student of MMA at the Rush Fight Academy.
His coach, Paul Cowzer, set up a GoFundMe appeal for Carvalho's family on behalf of the Irish Amateur Pankration Association that has raised almost €10,000.
The money will be offered to the family to ease any other burdens, but the repatriation - which would usually work out at around €3,500 - will be covered by Mr Fitzgerald.
He has been in regular contact with the family since last week.
"I'm a big fan of the sport, and when everything happened I was in the position where I was able to look after the family, and that's why I did it," he said.
"At 28 years of age he probably had no life insurance or anything, so I was able to help out.
"The only thing I have to do is send him on a plane across the water to the undertaker in Portugal to look after."
Mr Fitzgerald will take care of the coffin, embalming, shipping and paperwork for the family.
"I've been in contact with them since last week and I sat down and talked with them and went through everything," he said.
"I don't think they are fully aware of what is actually happening at the moment because of the shock of what happened last week."