Wednesday 25 April 2018

Separate probes into tragic death of MMA fighter

MMA fighter Joao Carvalho. Facebook/Nobrega Team
MMA fighter Joao Carvalho. Facebook/Nobrega Team
UFC, which features Conor McGregor, is the biggest promoter of mixed martial arts. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile

Martin Grant

The course of two separate investigations into the death of MMA fighter Joao Carvalho are to be decided after a post-mortem examination concluded last night.

An examination took place on Carvalho's body yesterday and the results will help to clarify what contributed to the fighter's death.

Gardaí are continuing to investigate the death of the 28-year-old Portuguese athlete who died on Monday after an event in the National Stadium at the weekend.

However, it will be several months before gardaí present the file to Dublin Coroner's Court.

While this is standard practice in sudden deaths, the garda investigation is expected to reveal further details surrounding the events before and leading up to the fighter's tragic death.

Meanwhile, the Health and Safety Authority (HAS) is continuing to conduct an initial probe which will determine if the body should launch a full-scale investigation.

As the sport of Mixed Martial Arts in Ireland continues to come under scrutiny following the death, those within the community have defended the sport.

While there are no deaths recorded in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), there have been more than a dozen fatalities in Mixed Martial Arts.

According to a report by US sports media brand SB Nation, there have been five fatalities in sanctioned MMA fights - with Carvalho's death bringing the figure to six.

In unsanctioned events, there have been at least eight fatalities since 1981.

In an unpublished interview with the Irish Independent just last week, Conor McGregor's coach John Kavanagh also rejected the notion that MMA has a high casualty rate.

"What are you measuring it against?," he says.

"If you are comparing rugby, GAA, hurling…I would say it's about the same," said Kavanagh.

Kavanagh, who was in the corner for Carvalho's opponent Charlie Ward, said there are rules in place for children and contact fighting.

He said: "A bit of rough and tumble, you're not going to get any worse from a tackle in rugby or a shoulder check in GAA…that's the level of contact you're going to find in an MMA school."

One MMA coach, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed the sport has a "very low" fatality rate.

"I disagree with the suggestion that MMA has a high fatality rate, it simply doesn't," the coach said last night.

Irish Independent

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