Wednesday 19 December 2018

'He told me fight was tough... then asked for photo with McGregor' - MMA fighter tells of devastation at opponent's inquest

Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho (R), in the ring with Charlie Ward, before tragic death of the father of two Photo: Dave Fogarty
Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho (R), in the ring with Charlie Ward, before tragic death of the father of two Photo: Dave Fogarty
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

MMA fighter Charlie Ward told of his devastation at hearing that Joao Carvalho (28) had died following their clash at the National Stadium.

He was the fourth witness called to the stand shortly after 11am yesterday at the inquest into the death of Mr Carvalho at Dublin Coroner’s Court.

He recalled in his deposition, which was read out that after the fight, Mr Carvalho had asked him for a photo with himself and Conor McGregor.

Mr Ward and the UFC star are close-knit, and he was pictured with McGregor last November leaving court, when the fighter was fined for speeding at Blanchardstown District Court.

In his deposition, Mr Ward said that he had been training and competing in MMA for approximately 10 years, and had been a professional competitor for approximately three years.

On April 9, 2016, he was competing in an MMA event in the National Stadium on the South Circular Road, and he was on the main card against Mr Carvalho.

Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho. Photo: Dave Fogarty
Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho. Photo: Dave Fogarty

“I first met Joao at the weighin, 24 hours before the event. I had never been involved in an event with Joao before,” Mr Ward said. “He wished me good luck on the way in and I wished him the same.”

He said that during the bout he was completely focused on his own performance.

Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho (on right) during his
bout with Charlie Ward. Photo: Dave Fogarty
Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho (on right) during his bout with Charlie Ward. Photo: Dave Fogarty

The fight comprised three five-minute rounds, with a one-minute break in between each of them.

“Both of us were completely exhausted at the end of it,” Mr Ward said.

“The first two rounds were difficult, but carried on as normal up until the bell. The third and final round was stopped by the referee.”

He was declared the winner by way of a technical knockout.

He said both left the octagon, and were examined. “We spoke briefly while in the medics room. Joao told me he hadn’t expected the fight to be so tough, and I said that I thought the same.

“He then asked me if he could have a photo with Conor McGregor and me. I said ‘Yes, of course’ but Conor wasn’t in the room to have his photo taken at that time.”

After the medical examination, he returned to his dressing room to shower.

When he came out, he heard about Mr Carvalho being taken poorly. He left the dressing room as quickly as he could.

Herald

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