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Man Dies After Competing in Unregulated Michigan MMA Event

Photo of Felix Pablo Elochukwu via BloodyElbow

Thirty Five year-old Felix Pablo Elochukwu died Saturday night in Michigan after fighting in the AFC Unleash the Beast event. Elochukwu lost his fight via third round stoppage and soon collapsed while sitting on a chair, according to Sports Net. Despite being tended to by paramedics and being taken to a hospital, Elochukwu died shortly after.

Sometime in the third round, Elochukwu was mounted and was not intelligently defending what were deemed to be soft hammer fists. The referee made the decision to halt the bout, potentially believing that Pablo was not going to be able to improve the position he was in.

“Elochukwu appeared to be fine during the announcement of the final decision and walked away on his own accord, albeit, with some assistance to ensure the fatigued fighter could make it to a seat.

When he did sit down, those around him noticed something was wrong and offered him some orange juice, believing his blood sugar may have dropped significantly. He then fell off the chair, where paramedics were called in to assist.

They showed up within minutes and apparently revived him, but took him away to be safe, likely to the nearest hospital. Shortly thereafter, Elochukwu passed away, and it is currently unknown if he did so en route to the hospital, or at the medical facility,” SportsNet reports.

According to Bloody Elbow, an autopsy performed on Elochukwu Monday did not present a clear cause of death, either, adding to the mystery of this tragedy. The most important thing that can be said at a time like this is simply that it is sad that Elochukwu lost his life and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones in what must be a confusing and horrible time.

It will be important for the health of the sport of MMA that we all continue to pay attention to this sad case and others like it as more information is made available, however. Michigan is one of the many states where MMA is legal but goes unregulated. In cases like that, rules, medical staffing and just about everything else usually governed and taken care of by a state athletic commission, is left entirely up to promoters.

Did Elochukwu have a pre-existing condition that made athletic competition more dangerous than usual for him? Could the types of pre-fight screenings required by regulated events have helped bring such a condition to light? Was the matchmaking – another facet of MMA that is approved or not by athletic commissions for regulated fights – fair or did it leave Elochukwu exposed to needless danger?

Was the refereeing adequate? Was the medical attention and care he received at this unregulated event as good as it would have been at a regulated event and could that have made a difference?

We don’t yet know but these are the types of questions that need to be brought up as the sport grows and moves forward. One of the greatest things about MMA is it’s accessibility and the few barriers to entry for competitors. Just about all major champions began their careers in organizations and events not unlike the one held Saturday night in Port Huron, MI.

Is it time, however, for us to reject MMA competitions in places where it won’t be properly regulated? There are good arguments on all sides. What do you think, nation?

Cagepotato Comments

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gdxbcmcg- April 12, 2013 at 11:38 am
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Amateur Fighting Club- April 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm
Wrong guy/ wrong medic/ wrong story!!!!! Seriously love how you make a story with out even having the facts.... Get your story straight!!!!!!
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towelie- April 10, 2013 at 10:59 am
it looks like the underground has a real picture of this unfortunate soul. nice proofing CP.
towelie- April 10, 2013 at 11:14 am
lol, may have posted the same dude minus the hair. looks like several people got this one wrong. mah bad.
Alan K- April 10, 2013 at 7:21 am
Guys, a man just died. Why do I keep coming to this site?
ytrebil- April 10, 2013 at 6:00 am
I'm surprised we don't get more stories like this.
algiersheadkick504- April 10, 2013 at 5:16 am
Still not as disturbing and alarming as poor innocent girls that want to compete getting smashed by a man with is genitals cut of and a wig...
Dagnut- April 10, 2013 at 2:03 am
Cue mass hysteria and hyperbole. People drop dead playing soccer...people die.. young and and unfit.
BrianMMA- April 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm
Sad day for MMA. I hope this is a warning call to fighters who plan on fighting in future unsanctioned events. Not to say that fighting in a sanctioned event could have prevented this, but it is at least the best way to combat things like this.
Pen Fifteen- April 9, 2013 at 9:39 pm
Just when you were worried someone wasn't going to post a rambling, stream of consciousness rant that basically reiterates points made by the article but with worse grammar and an incoherent rhetorical comes Karma.
KarmaAteMyCat- April 9, 2013 at 9:11 pm
This is why unregulated MMA is horse shit. First off it causes hard working legit promoters(I CANNOT BELIEVE I SAID THAT) To seem like they are always the bad guy, Not that they aren't. Secondly there is a reason some states Require CT Scan as well as an Eye Doctor's approval, so that you can avoid life threatening head trauma. Seriously some people don't get it, this shit isn't a joke. People get hurt ALL the time, and though it isn't as often or as bad as the NFL or even Cheer leading most of the time. When it is bad it's really fucking bad, I mean think about it for a moment. The fight with Bubba on tuf vs Hall that shit was scary for a moment. The fight with Faber and Takeya Mizugaki when Faber had him face down with a choke dead on for a hot minute? Yeah. So if a fighter knows and generally YOU KNOW when things aren't working the way they should because NOBODY EVER COMPETE's at 100%, as I was saying when a fighter knows not everything is right upstairs and they still compete, I dunno man that's just both reckless and irresponsible to everyone in the sport. Now I'm not saying that's what happened here but for example, Vazquez from Texas, Kirkham in South Carolina. Now I dunno if these guys are just living out the whole 300 motto but going out on your shield is just blasphemy to the sport as a whole. My Condolences to Felix's loved ones this is a tragic situation that was probably easily avoidable.
Amateur Fighting Club- April 11, 2013 at 3:28 pm
since 1993 8 mma fighters died worldwide..... 43 cheerleaders
RSparrow- April 9, 2013 at 9:02 pm
Can't feel confident when "Dusty the Paramedic" is standing behind you with a bud light.
Amateur Fighting Club- April 11, 2013 at 3:30 pm
wrong guy... Wrong fighter, and that is not the medic... lol
bo- April 9, 2013 at 6:57 pm
that guy in the picture isn't even Pablo, they didn't post pictures from his fight. But he is a big black guy so close enough I guess right?
dranokills- April 9, 2013 at 5:51 pm
damn you fallon fox.....damn you!!!!
Stranglaitis- April 9, 2013 at 5:41 pm
Stories like this are sad. There could be so many variables to how this happened but i wish there were regulations everywhere because blood work and brain scans-- no matter how bad we hate to cough up $700-- can save lives. No ambulance on site?!? Ridiculous. Thoughts are out to his family.
Pen Fifteen- April 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm
The thread on the UG answers a lot of your questions about the event. There were paramedics at the event, but no MD and no ambulance. An ambulance was there pretty quickly, but even minutes can count in situations like this.

In any case, it doesn't seem that the promoter was doing anything unusual, but it does seem to suggest that the standards for usual are pathetically low. I mean, there are pictures of some poor kid with a horribly broken nose, a guy fighting in basketball shorts, ring girl striding barefoot across a blood-stained canvas...just a fucking shithow.
Fried Taco- April 9, 2013 at 3:50 pm
The real question is, are there more deaths in unregulated cheerleading than there are in unregulated MMA? What can we do to prevent unregulated and backyard cheerleading "events"?
Keegan Calnan- April 9, 2013 at 3:34 pm
I live right around where this occurred (Port Huron/ Mi). I almost went to these fights Saturday, but was unable to, some of my training partners where there and Ill ask them. The newspaper article I had read said the fight ended in a decision after a close fight, but I could see that being false. This organization and some others have been putting fights on for a long time around here and there have been no other incidents close to this. If I learn anything not reported on here I'll try to relay it to you.
algiersheadkick504- April 9, 2013 at 3:26 pm
Doing a bunch of coke and bars yur whole life then having a intense mma fight at 35 might do that to you