Sad news coming out of Brazil recently, as we learn that Nova Uniao product Leandro ‘Feijao’ Souza has passed away just ahead of his planned Shooto 43 weigh-in. The Brazilian Souza was set to fight at Shooto 43 in a Flyweight contest, but apparently collapsed and was hospitalised soon after.
The 26 year old was taken to an emergency unit, where his family was notified. Feiajo’s teammate Andre Santos rushed to the hospital, but it was already too late by the time he arrived:
"We don’t have much information yet," Santos told MMAFighting.com, "but we do know that is related to his weight cut. He’s my student but he also trains at Nova Uniao for about a year. I wasn’t with him during this process because I have a fight scheduled in Russia, so he spent the night at Nova Uniao’s gym. His sister called me saying that he had passed out so I went to the hospital, but he was already dead when I got there."
Shooto’s president Andre Pedernaires also released a statement via his Facebook page:
"We are sad to report the death of Leandro Caetano de Souza The athlete has passed away in Botafogo’s UPA. We don’t know the reasons why yet. We would like to express our condolences to all friends and family."
Shooto 43 is now officially cancelled following the tragic death of Souza, and an inquest is likely to produce the official cause of death in the near future. If he was suffering from severe hydration, the causes of death could range from swelling of the brain to liver failure to hypovolemic shock.
It doesn’t feel good to write this, but a lesson needs to be learned from this tragic incident; cutting large amounts of weight should not be allowed in this sport. It’s only a matter of time before this happens again and something needs to be done.
Whether it’s adding more weight classes, or defining that a fighter needs to be 10lbs. within the weight before accepting the fight; it’s insane that fighters are damaging themselves this much.
An advantage in a fight is never worth paying your life for, and the Brazilian MMA community is mourning a loss today.