We've lost one of us - it's truly heartbreaking, says McGregor
Published 13/04/2016 | 02:30
UFC champion Conor McGregor has paid tribute to Joao Carvalho, describing him as "a hell of a fighter".
He described the news of the Portuguese man's death as "truly heartbreaking".
McGregor was in the audience at the bout between Carvalho and Charlie Ward at the National Stadium in Dublin on Saturday night.
Speaking immediately after the fight - and before it emerged Carvalho had been hospitalised - McGregor said officials could have stopped the fight "a little earlier".
In a statement last night, McGregor said: "Nobody involved in combat sports of any kinds wants to see this. It is such a rare occurrence that I don't know how to take this.
"I was ringside supporting my teammate, and the fight was so back and forth, that I just can't understand it."
McGregor rounded on critics of MMA.
"Combat sport is a crazy game and with the recent incident in boxing and now this in MMA, it is a sad time to be a fighter and a fight fan. It is easy for those on the outside to criticise our way of living, but for the millions of people around the world who have had their lives, their health, their fitness and their mental strength all changed for the better through combat, this is truly a bitter pill to swallow. We have lost one of us."