(Image via efcafrica.com)
A South African middleweight MMA fighter named Booto Guylain died earlier today, from head injuries he suffered during a TKO loss to Keron Davies last Thursday at EFC Africa 27. Guylain was 29 years old, and very new to the sport, as his only other pro fight was a previous TKO loss at EFC Africa 25 in November.
The fight that claimed Guylain’s life ended like so many others in MMA — with Guylain on his back sustaining a series of elbow strikes from Davies, who was in full mount. According to a news brief released by EFC Africa after the fight, Guylain was stabilized by the on-site medical team immediately afterwards and transported to the Johannesburg General Hospital, where he was treated for swelling and bleeding on the brain.
However, the South African MMA website PrettyTuff reported that Guylain’s medical treatment was delayed “because he does not have medical aid and [because of] the long process involved in admitting a patient into a busy government facility in South Africa.” At some point, Guylain lapsed into a coma, and died today despite the efforts of a neuro-surgical team.
“We are devastated,” said EFC Africa president Cairo Howarth. “This is a huge loss to the sport and to all who know him. Our thoughts are with his family in this trying time.” ONEPLAN, EFC Africa’s disability partner, will provide financial support to Guylain’s wife and son.
Deaths in professional MMA competition are an incredibly rare occurrence, thankfully, although the MMA community has recently lost fighters to weight-cutting and heart conditions. In May 2012, an amateur fighter named Dustin Jenson died due to an unrelated blunt-force trauma following an unregulated MMA event in South Dakota.
Our thoughts are with Guylain’s family during this tragic time.