How Many People Have Died in MMA?

March 15, 2024

As a combat sport, MMA has had its share of gruesome injuries. While there are countless bone fractures and muscle tears that occur during fights, it is the brain trauma that can have the most devastating impact. Sadly, many of these injuries can lead to death.

As of 2023, 17 people have died either competing in a sanctioned MMA bout or getting ready for one since the sport began. Nine of those deaths have occurred at unsanctioned cage fighting events. The death of Joao Carvalho earlier this year has been the most high profile of those incidents.

In addition to the fight deaths, several athletes have suffered from fatal or near-death experiences while cutting weight for a match. This is a problem in most combat sports but it seems to be worse in MMA.

A study conducted in 2006 found that the rate of injury for MMA fighters was similar to that of boxers. Despite this, no fighter has ever died in the Octagon in a UFC event.

Kimbo Slice had a liver mass and heart failure and needed a transplant days before his death, hospital records show. He had been training at a gym run by his wife’s cousin. He was told to get a medical checkup before competing again but didn’t.

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