Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho has died just 48 hours after being knocked out in a Total Extreme Fighting 1 bout with Charlie Ward.
Ward, who is Conor McGregor’s team-mate at Straight Blast Gym, triumphed over Carvalho in the third round of their fight in Dublin, Ireland.
After the loss, Carvalho told doctors that he felt fine, but he was rushed to hospital shortly after suffering from a headache. Despite undergoing emergency surgery, the 28-year-old passed away, making him the fifth MMA fighter to die in a sanctioned since Sam Vasquez passed away in 2007. The other fighters to have lost their loves are Michael Kirkham, Tyrone Mims and Booto Guylain.
“Nobrega Team confirms the passing of its athlete Joao Carvalho, which took place last night at the Beaumont Hospital, in Dublin, at 9:35 PM,” Carvalho’s team said in a statement translate from Portuguese. “It’s with deep sadness that we write these words to inform you that Joao passed away after being in a critical state for 48 hours.
“During a TEF-MMA event that took place on Saturday, at the National Boxing Stadium, in Dublin, where all safety rules were followed and in a bout where the referee followed all the correct and usual procedures. Joao “Rafeiro” Carvalho felt unwell about 20 minutes after the fight.
“Still in the venue, he was assisted by the local medical team and then quickly transferred to the Beaumont Hospital, where he underwent a surgical cerebral intervention after which he remained in critical state for the next 48 hours until his passing, this Monday, at 9:35 PM.
“Despite the permanent medical assistance provided by both the organisation and the hospital, for whom we are very thankful and despite the risks this sport involves, Joao’s passing, in our professional point of view, was a huge misfortune. He leaves his family and us from Nobrega Team, who have been by his side throughout his career, deeply sad.
“It’s with a huge weight in our hearts that we present our most sincere condolences to his family and all the Nobrega Team.”
McGregor, who attended the event, paid tribute to Carvalho and sent his condolences to Carvalho’s family and team via Facebook.
“This is truly a bitter pill to swallow. We have lost one of us,” McGregor said. “I hope we remember Joao as a champion, who pursued his dream doing what he loved, and show him the eternal respect and admiration he deserves.”
John Kavanagh, who coaches Ward and McGregor, also took to Facebook to express his sadness at what had happened.
Meanwhile, Total Extreme Fighting chief executive Cesar Silva also offered his condolences through a statement.
“We extend our most sincere condolences to the family of João Carvalho’s and his teammates in Team Nobrega. Our thoughts and prayers are with them,” Silva said. “We’d also like to thank all sports fans for their concern and support. We will give whatever support we can to Joao’s family.
“We have been in contact with his family and they have requested that we all understand their need for privacy at this difficult time.”