Heavyweight competitor and Ontario resident Felix Pablo Elochukwu passed away after competing Friday night under the Amateur Fighting Club banner in Port Huron, Mich., according to the report. Elochukwu, a native Nigerian who moved to Canada in 2012, was reportedly mounted in the third round of his bout and sustained strikes that prompted the referee to wave off the contest.
Though Elochukwu appeared to be OK as the result of the bout was announced, his condition apparently deteriorated backstage. According to the report, Elochukwu was treated by paramedics after falling off a chair and was then taken to a local hospital. The fighter’s cause of death is currently unknown, though an autopsy was reportedly performed on Sunday, according to MMAJunkie.com.
The AFC Sunday released a statement concerning the matter on its Facebook page:
“[At] last night's event, [on] April 6, we lost a member of our MMA family, and we would like to take this time to honor him. This is a tragic turn of events. We will keep his family and friends in our prayers and we ask you to do the same. May God be with them in this devastating time of loss. To us, this tragedy will not end today. He will remain in our hearts and on our minds. Further information will be posted at a later time.”
While professional MMA is conducted under the supervision of the Michigan Unarmed Combat Commission, amateur MMA remains unregulated in the state. The Association of Boxing Commissions previously asked its members not to license fighters hailing from the state as a safety precaution due to concerns over regulation practices at both the amateur and professional level. A bill to regulate amateur mixed martial arts in the state was introduced into the Michigan House of Representatives on Jan. 31 and was placed on a third reading on March 20.