Tragically, 2017 has been another year in which a surprising number of mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters have passed away – some for reasons related to combat sports, and some not.
From a former UFC veteran to competitors from other respected promotions like ONE FC, RFA and Legacy Fighting Alliance, and up-and-comers working their way up the amateur ranks, in this article we’ll look back at seven fighters who were taken far too young in the past 12 months, and one who died in the cage and yet miraculously lived to tell the tale.
The MMA world was left in shock in June when former UFC heavyweight fighter Tim Hague was pronounced dead at 34 years old just days after being brutally knocked out in a boxing match.
A man of many promotions, ‘The Thrashing Machine’ was best known for his five-fight run in the UFC between 2009-2011, which started off with a submission win over Pat Barry before going on to suffer a series of losses against Todd Duffee, Chris Tuchscherer, Joey Beltran, and Matt Mitrione.
On Friday, June 16, 2017, Hague faced off against former Canadian Football League player Adam Braidwood in Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
It was clear from as early as the opening minutes of the bout that Hague was outmatched as Braidwood repeatedly rocked and floored him, but he refused to give in and the referee kept his distance, meaning that the fight didn’t end until he was finally knocked out cold in the second round.
Hague would remain unconscious for several minutes but did slowly make his way back out the ring under his own power after coming too.
However, his condition rapidly worsened backstage and he was rushed to hospital in critical condition, where he was put in a coma and underwent immediate surgery to relieve pressure on his brain due to internal bleeding.
Hague passed away two days later while surrounded by his family.
In the wake of his death, questions were asked as to how Hague had even been sanctioned to fight that night given that his recent record was littered with T/KO’s in both boxing and MMA.
To put it into perspective, In 2015, Hague had been knocked out three times in a row in MMA, while in a nine-month period prior to his death he’d been TKO’d once in MMA, once in a super-boxing bout (kickboxing with MMA gloves) and once in a boxing match.
An investigation is still ongoing, but in the meantime, Edmonton recently banned all combat sports for one year, while Hague’s family have retained a lawyer to pursue a wrongful death prosecution against the city.