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Autopsy Shows Amateur Fighter Dustin Jenson Died of Unrelated Blunt Force Trauma

Jenson, pictured on the right (black shorts), died of a seizure after competing in an unregulated MMA event.

On May 18th, twenty-six year old Sturgis, South Dakota native Dustin Jenson competed in an unregulated Ring Wars event in South Dakota. Although Jenson was quickly submitted by a triangle choke by Hayden Hensrud, he took no significant blows to the head and remained conscious after he tapped out. However, shortly after the fight Dustin was found by another fighter having a seizure. He was rushed to Rapid City Regional Hospital, where he would eventually die on May 24th.

An autopsy has revealed that blunt force trauma suffered the week before his fight is the official cause of Dustin Jenson’s untimely demise. As The Rapid City Journal reports:

The autopsy indicated the cause of death was a subdural hemorrhage resulting from blunt force trauma to the head. A subdural hemorrhage is a collection of blood on the surface of the brain and often causes brain injury and death.

The cause was related to an injury about a week earlier, according to the autopsy. The Sheriff’s Office said there is no conclusive evidence the injury was sustained in the fight.

Jenson, a husband and father, was participating in only his fifth fight since taking up the sport less than a year ago.

This is a tragic twist that confirms what most of us had already feared: That regulation of Mixed Martial Arts competition in South Dakota – requiring basic medical screenings such as blood tests to make sure unhealthy fighters aren’t competing – could have easily prevented Dustin Jenson’s death. But perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this article is the final paragraph:

South Dakota has no governing body overseeing boxing or MMA. Dean Schrempp, a state legislator representing Corson, Dewey and Ziebach counties, has advocated for a governing body and said Jenson would still be alive had there been one in place.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard disagrees, saying a commission would lead to more fights and therefore more injuries and deaths.

Obviously, Governor Daugaard’s opinion is completely backwards; The South Dakota State Jackrabbits football team does not see players die every week because there is a commission overseeing the sport making sure that individuals who aren’t healthy enough to play aren’t needlessly risking their lives. But as long as people like Daugaard are in power, little will change in South Dakota.

If you live in South Dakota, please write to your local representatives urging them to create a commission to oversee MMA. What would truly be a shame is if we learn absolutely nothing from this incident. Fighters, like all athletes from full-contact sports, are risking their health every time they compete. There’s no need to add even more risks on top of it, especially when they could easily be prevented.

If you’d like to send a donation to Dustin’s family, please go here.

Cagepotato Comments

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Mr_Misanthropy- July 16, 2012 at 11:33 pm
I was just at an Autopsy show. There weren't any fights and I don't remember them having a song titled "Unrelated Blunt Force Trauma". Is that off their new album?
XENOPHON- July 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm
@JustBlogGuy - Yep.
XENOPHON- July 16, 2012 at 7:23 pm
@Shitbag - South Dakota has Population: 824,082 (2011) Half of them are female. From the roughly 400,000 men, once you subtract both children under 18 and the elderly over 65 (for MMA competitors the age would be closer to 35), the cost of regulation doesn't have much return for the UFC. The states motto is "Under God, People Rule."

The motto may sound nice to some, but the fact is nearly 90% of them are religious, and being such a pious state many disapprove of such an ungodly form of combat-competition.

Politics there, where life is relatively simple is all about not upsetting the religious vote. Your likely right, writing to politicos would be a weak sauce effort. Greasing their pockets, is likely not worth the cost for the UFC too.
shitbag- July 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm
Can't the UFC just buy regulation? Can we just stop pretending writing to the 'ol congressman does anything?
tommy5060- July 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm
JustBlogGuy- July 16, 2012 at 2:12 pm
The injury came a week before his death, not a week before his fight. Basically it was likely a result of his fight, which occurred a week before he died, but there is no way to say with 100-percent certainty that it was the fight which caused the bleeding.
tommy5060- July 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm
yea what a cop out, there trying not to blame mma.