Portuguese mixed martial arts fighter Joao Carvalho dies after Dublin bout
A mixed martial arts fighter has died after sustaining injuries during a weekend bout in Dublin.
Portugal’s Joao Carvalho, 28, lost his fight for life in the city’s Beaumont Hospital three days after a technical knockout in a match at the National Stadium on Saturday.
He was competing in a welterweight contest against Charlie “The Hospital” Ward and had fallen ill shortly afterwards.
In a statement, organisers Total Extreme Fighting (TEF) said they are deeply saddened by the news of Mr Carvalho’s death.
Cesar Silva, chief executive of TEF, said: “We extend our most sincere condolences to the family of Joao Carvalho’s and his team mates in Team Nobrega.
“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 Joao’s family.”
He added: “We have been in contact with his family and they have requested that we all understand their need for privacy at this difficult time.”
Ward is a member of Team SBG Ireland, the same camp as star Ultimate Fighting Championship belt holder Conor McGregor.
Coach John Kavanagh took to social media to express condolences.
“It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the passing of Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho,” he said.
“Our condolences and thoughts, though, are with Joao’s family and friends and we kindly ask everyone to respect their privacy at this time.”
Mr Kavanagh said the Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA), which represents mixed martial arts fighters, is working diligently with TEF to gather and evaluate all relevant facts and event processes.
It said the organisation will participate in any investigation.
Mixed martial arts has grown in popularity in Ireland since the emergence of McGregor as a title holder.
Tens of thousands of Irish fans have flooded bouts in Dublin and Las Vegas while the fights in octagon cages have received increasing mainstream media coverage.
McGregor posted a message of condolence on his Facebook page.
“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,” he 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. It is such a rare occurrence that I don’t know how to take this.”
McGregor had been ringside for the bout and described it as “back and forth”.
He extended sympathies to the family of the Portuguese fighter.
“Their man was a hell of a fighter and will be sorely missed by all,” McGregor said.
“Combat sport is a crazy game and with the recent incident in boxing and now this in MMA, it is a sad time to be a fighter and a fight fan.
“It is easy for those on the outside to criticise our way of living, but for the millions of people around the world who have had their lives, their health, their fitness and their mental strength all changed for the better through combat, this is truly a bitter pill to swallow. We have lost one of us.
“I hope we remember Joao as a champion, who pursued his dream doing what he loved, and show him the eternal respect and admiration he deserves.
“Rest in peace, Joao.”