Rookie Mixed Martial Artist Michael Kirkham died Monday morning following the head injury received during his fight at “Confrontation at the Convocation Center” event, taking place in Aike, SC. The fight card was regulated by the South Carolina Athletic Commission. Kirkham lost the fight by referee stoppage via Ground and Pound, but never regained his consciousness. Doctors at the Convocation Center decided to stretch Kirkham to the Aiken Regional Medical Center, where he was officially prounounced dead due to the brain hemorrhage.

Kirkham’s opponent, Carlos Iravuro, talked about the shocking turn of events: “I’m in there to compete for a sport,” he says. “I’m not there to do any permanent damage to anybody. I was concerned. Very concerned. I don’t believe I did anything wrong.You know, it was a sport. We both knew what we were doing; we knew what we were getting involved in. I just did what I was supposed to do.

I can’t fully explain how sorry I am. To his family and friends, I am truly sorry and shocked that this tragedy occurred. I, too, will never forget him.”

As for the event promoter, Sam King had a very little to say following the tragedy: “Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with his family, other than that I have no comment.”

Michael Kirkham was 30 at his death, nicknamed “The Tree” for his incredible 6′ 9″ height (he competed as a Lightweight, which raises even more questions). According to his Facebook page, Kirkham had an amateur record of 3 wins and 3 losses before his tragic professional debut. Rest in Peace.

HT: WRDW, MMA Fighting