Top 10 Most Horrifying Combat Sports Deaths in the Ring

Tags: #MMA ,   #Fighting ,   #RestInPeace ,   #Boxing

Dan N. Scarborough

Dan N. Scarborough

Last updated:  2023-02-07 06:00:10

Fighters are the modern-day gladiators, although some matches were a farce. With every weapon their body provides, these fearless combatants square up in squared rings, octagons, cages, and under various rival promotions. They are fully prepared to dish out and suffer the kind of physical trauma that would keep an average person in the hospital for weeks... If they were fortunate. In reality, even hardened experts put their lives and limbs on the line when they enter the ring. Despite rules and regulations, combat sports are still disciplines where competitors try to hurt each other. Therefore, accidents happen, some of them with deadly outcomes. This list features ten of the most notorious deaths in the ring.

10. Rondel Clark

Weight cutting cost this fighter a lot more than just a match

Weight cutting, or rapidly reducing a lot of weight to get into the class you're fighting in, is dangerous. Unfortunately, it was devastating for Rondel Clark, an amateur fighter from Sutton, Massachusetts. Clark fought his second MMA fight in August 2017, losing by TKO but scarcely taking a punch. The 26-year-old combatant died three days later.

No one could realize what had happened at first because Clark's sole indicator of bodily distress had been weariness shortly before his defeat. However, it soon became apparent that he had done a 15-20 pound weight cut without specialist guidance, which had played havoc on his body. Clark's entire system had shut down due to dehydration, beginning with his kidneys. His official cause of death was rhabdomyolysis, which means his muscular tissue began to fall apart due to significant dehydration and intense physical strain.

9. Hijo Del Perro Aguayo

Legendary Mexican luchador met his end in the ring

Wrestlers who died in the ring left a legacy that others want to emulate, and Hijo Del Perro Aguayo/Perro Aguayo Jr.'s death was one of the most widely publicized. Perro Aguayo Jr. was a member of the Mexican Wrestling Giants AAA and CMLL and a Los Perros Del Mal stable leader. Although this name may be unfamiliar to a casual wrestling fan, it was well-known within the Mexican audience. This was as Perro Aguayo Jr. won numerous championships during his two-decade career.

On March 20, 2015, he teamed up with Manik to face Rey Mysterio Jr. and Xtreme Tiger in a tag team bout at a Crash show. During the match, Mysterio delivered a dropkick to Aguayo's back/shoulder region. However, a few moments later, the other fighters in the ring noticed Aguayo was unconscious. Therefore, after the event, he was brought to the hospital and proclaimed dead shortly after midnight. His death was caused by cardiac arrest. This was a result of a cervical stroke induced by three shattered vertebrae. Aguayo was posthumously inducted into the AAA Hall of Fame.

8. Adrienne Simmons

This kickboxing lady died after a horrible knockout

Adrienne Simmons was in the final round of a three-round battle at the International Kickboxing Federation event in Orlando when she was knocked out by a left hook. The fight was stopped, and ringside doctors treated Simmons.

Shortly after, the kickboxer stood up, then collapsed and was airlifted to a hospital, dying the following Monday. Simmons was fighting in a Muay Thai match, which allowed opponents to use their feet, elbows, knees, and hands to deliver blows. She is regarded as the first female kickboxer to die due to a fight.

7. Booto Guylain

An elbow strike took the life of a young MMA fighter

According to the International Business Times, MMA had a rough start in 2014. The cause for this was the tragic death of Booto Guylain, a South African MMA fighter who passed in the ring after being hit in the head with a vicious elbow. In an Extreme Fighting Championship Africa battle in Johannesburg, the 29-year-old was facing Keron Davies when Davies' elbow struck. Consequently, Guylain was knocked out instantly and brought to the hospital after being stabilized by ringside medical personnel. Guylain was kept there for "swelling and bleeding on the head," but his injuries proved deadly.

Guylain's sudden death shocked the MMA community, especially as it was the second one of a contender in a relatively short portion. Just six months prior, Brazilian MMA fighter Leandro Souza died before his fight. This was because he tried to lose weight too quickly, and his body physically couldn't handle it.

6. Mike Towell

Horrific fight ended his career and life

Dale Evans stopped Mike Towell in the fifth round of a 12-round fight in Glasgow, ending a British welterweight title eliminator. Towell was immediately transported to the hospital, where it was revealed that he had a significant brain bleed, ultimately leading to his terrible death.

Evans, who was "heartbroken," claimed that seeing Towell's mother provided him personal courage and solace. While there is no way to completely console families engaged in such tragic events, the financial load was alleviated because of the generosity of those in the sport, including Ricky Hatton. A 'Justgiving' campaign put up in the aftermath of Towell's terrible death raised almost £50,000, with additional contributions from the boxing community.

5. Vince Libardi

The first American who died in an MMA fight

On October 20, 2007, MMA fighter Sam Vasquez created history, albeit it was probably not the sort he wanted to be associated with. Vasquez fought his third professional MMA bout on this day against Vince Libardi at Houston's Toyota Center. Libardi caught Vasquez with a match-ending blow in the third round. Vasquez's legs quickly failed him, and he was brought to a hospital where he underwent several surgical procedures to alleviate pressure in his head. They were unsuccessful, and Vasquez died six weeks later without regaining consciousness. He was the first American fighter to die due to a fight.

While the autopsy found that Vasquez died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, some of the damage may have occurred before Libardi's strike. Vasquez had previously smacked his head in a ring post during a takedown, and while he stayed active, a recording of the match revealed that this visibly disoriented him. Several medical specialists believe this was the hit that killed Vasquez, yet his death was not in vain. As a result of the tragedy, officials began looking at rules regarding goal post padding and other safety precautions to prevent future similar accidents.

4. Scott Westgarth

Hard-earned victory costs the victor everything

Scott Westgarth should have been ecstatic after defeating Dec Spelman in a light-heavyweight bout in Doncaster. Yet, he died hours after winning a "grueling" ten-round battle, having taken a series of hard blows to the head. Despite raising his hand to declare victory, unfortunate Scott Westgarth was reported as being "in a stupor" after the bout, in which he was knocked down near the conclusion.

The 31-year-old was assisted to the changing room, where he told trainers his head was "killing him" before being brought to the hospital by paramedics. A CT scan revealed massive bleeding on the brain, and Scott died from his injuries one day later, on February 25, 2018.

3. João Carvalho

The death that probably made McGregor retire

One of the most high-profile MMA deaths occurred in 2016 when Joao Carvalho fought in Dublin against MMA champion Conor McGregor's teammate Charlie Ward. The violent bout had to be stopped by the referee in the third round, but it was too late for Carvalho. Despite receiving first-rate care, his condition deteriorated during the match, and he was brought to the hospital, dying 48 hours later. According to the Irish Independent, the death was caused by brain trauma from the 41 headshots.

Everyone involved was naturally upset, but McGregor (who felt the referee should have stopped the battle earlier) was especially disturbed. He instantly posted a touching tribute to Carvalho on Facebook, confessing that he had difficulty comprehending the incident. Experts even claim that Carvalho's death was the catalyst for McGregor to announce his retirement on Twitter.

2. Owen Hart

Unfortunate accident ended the brilliant career

To be honest, WWE does an excellent job defending their Superstars in the ring. Although there is a word when a WWE wrestler dies, there are no stories of WWE deaths in the ring. However, one Superstar, a member of the Hart Family, died in front of thousands of spectators during a live WWE Pay-per-view.

In 1999's Over the Edge PPV, Hart was going to contend for the Intercontinental Championship as the Blue Blazer, a superhero gimmick. Therefore, WWF settled on a character-appropriate entrance for Hart. The goal was for him to descend from the rafters into the ring. Before the event, the concerned employees successfully tested the entrance. Unfortunately, Hart accidentally activated the early release mechanism 78 feet above the ring. As a result, he fell chest-first into the ring. After the on-site professionals failed to recover Hart, he was taken to a hospital, where he died before midnight. It was a contentious and tragic course of events that should have been avoided at all costs.

1. Patrick Day

Tragic end of a young and promising boxer

The most shocking death of a boxer in modern times was Patrick Day's. On October 12, 2019, Day suffered a traumatic brain injury following a knockout loss to Charles Conwell in a USBA super welterweight title fight. Day, 27, was knocked down three times during his bout with Conwell.

Day's head severely rebounded on the canvas during the fight's final knockdown, which ended it. Day was transported to the hospital, where he began having convulsions and soon fell into a coma. Following that, doctors conducted emergency brain surgery. However, Day died four days later, on October 16, 2019, from a traumatic brain injury. After his death, boxing promoter Eddie Hearn stated that the sport should be safer.

On the surface, modern combat sports are a considerable reach from the bloody martial arts contests depicted in 1980s sports films. Numerous rules, restrictions, and referees are in place to make the sport more house-trained than the usual unofficial street fight. Nevertheless, it's still about two skilled individuals hammering and twisting each other into submission, unconsciousness, or both. As a result, combat is a deadly sport in which injuries and mishaps are common, sometimes resulting in deaths.

What's the worst death inside the ring, in your opinion? Which horrific deaths would you add?

 Cover photo: dfbailey/Pixabay


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