João Carvalho, an MMA cage fighter, died on Monday – two days after he was knocked out in a mixed martial arts bout and admitted to a hospital in critical condition in Dublin, Ireland.
The referee stopped Carvalho's fight with Charlie Ward in the third round at the National Stadium, according to The Independent
. Carvalho, 28, was treated at the stadium before he was taken to Beaumont Hospital.
According to a statement from Total Extreme Fighting
, which staged the fight, Carvalho was placed in the hospital's intensive care unit after arriving.
"We extend our most sincere condolences to the family of João Carvalho's and his teammates in Team Nobrega," said Cesar Silva, chief executive officer of Total Extreme Fighting. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We'd also like to thank all sports fans for their concern and support. We will give whatever support we can to João's family."
Popular UFC featherweight championship Conor McGregor, who attended the fight, told MMA Connect TV after the bout that he believed the referee waited too long to end the fight, reported The Independent.
"My teammate Charlie had a good win just there. Hell of a fight," McGregor said. "Yer man (Carvalho) took some big shots. Thought it could have been stopped a little earlier. I feel these referees need to be on the ball a little bit."
McGregor, though, would later say in a Facebook post
that Carvalho's death was a "rare occurrence" in the sport.
"To see a young man doing what he loves, competing for a chance at a better life, and then to have it taken away is truly heartbreaking," McGregor said. "We are just men and women doing something we love in the hope of a better life for ourselves and our families. Nobody involved in combat sports of any kind wants to see this."
Silva defended how Carvalho was handled.
"The promotion and fighters followed best regulatory practices," Silva said. "We had also three doctors and paramedic staff present on the night. Their presence ensured that the seriousness of João's condition was recognized and swift action taken and we are thankful for their help. Serious injuries like this are rare worldwide in MMA but it is important that every possible precaution is taken to ensure every competitor's welfare."
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