Probes launched into death of MMA fighter Joao Carvalho

Two separate investigations have been launched into the death of MMA fighter Joao Carvalho following an event in Dublin last weekend.

Carvalho died on Monday from injuries sustained in a fight against Charlie Ward at the Total Extreme Fighting 1 event at the National Stadium last Saturday. He had been in a critical condition for 48 hours at Beaumont Hospital before he died.

Both the gardaí and the Health and Saftey Authority (HSA) have launched investigations.

The gardaí said all sudden deaths are investigated and a file will be prepared for the Dublin Coroner’s Court.

Probes launched into death of MMA fighter Joao Carvalho

The HSA also said it would be investigating the circumstances of the incident.

“Generally, people who suffer injury or death during sporting activity fall outside of the remit of the HSA. We will, however, examine the circumstances of this tragic incident to determine if there is an employer/employee relationship and if we have a role,” the HSA said in a statement.

Michael Ring, the minister of state for tourism and sport, underlined the need for regulation of the sport here, stating he had been “concerned about the growth” of MMA in Ireland for over two years

“On the 20th of February 2014, before this event ever happened, I wrote to 17 organisations and these were commercial operators that were running for-profit events in Ireland.

“I wrote to the 17 of them and I outlined to them that I expected the same kind of safety standards that existed for other sports such as rugby, horse racing, and professional boxing.

Michael Ring
Michael Ring

“I am concerned and I have been concerned. And I’ve been concerned about the growth of this sport and the way that it’s unregulated. It needs to be regulated,” he told Newstalk.

Consultant neurosurgeon at Beaumont Hospital, Prof Ciaran Bolger. said the fact Mr Carvalho was walking and talking after the bout was not uncommon for certain type of injuries.

“It’s not unusual at all. It’s a group of head injuries we would call ‘talk and die’. It’s a fairly common kind of head injury where someone is fine. They get a knock at a football match, for example. They stand up, they can walk, they can talk, they can even play on for a while and then collapse. It would have been fairly typical for the kind of injury that he had,” he told RTÉ’s Prime Time.

However, Prof Bolger said he did not agree with suggestions the sport be banned but stressed the importance of having medical professionals who could perform particular resuscitation, associated with such injuries, rather than just any doctor.

Writing on Facebook, UFC star Conor McGregor defended the sport saying it had improved lives for millions of people around the world.

“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,” he said.

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