MMA fighter injured at Dublin event has died

João Carvalho was admitted to hospital after fighting in an event in the National Boxing Stadium

MMA fighter injured at Dublin event has died

Image: Jae C. Hong / AP/Press Association Images

Tributes are being paid to a Portuguese fighter who died after a Mixed Martial Arts event in Dublin at the weekend.

João Carvalho was rushed to hospital after telling medical staff he felt unwell after the bout with Irish fighter, Charlie Ward.

Ward's head coach John Kavanagh said that their condolences and thoughts are with João's family.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) says they are examining the circumstances of the fight to see if they will have a role to play in any investigation into the death.

A statement on the Nóbrega Team's Facebook page, which Carvalho was a member of, confirmed that the fighter had passed away in Beaumont Hospital on Monday night. Head of the team Vitor Nóbrega expressed his condolences to the family and thanked the staff at the hospital, saying "we thank them for all their support at this difficult time".

The statement from Nóbrega went on to say that "although we know the risks of this sport, the death of João Carvalho [...] has left his family, as well as all of the members of the Nóbrega team, profoundly sad and distraught".

The TEF team, which organised the event, also issued a statement in which they stated that they were "deeply saddened by the news of João Carvalho’s death". 

Cesar Silva, CEO of TEF said: "We extend our most sincere condolences to the family of João Carvalho and his teammates in Team Nóbrega. 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".

The statement also outlined that the family have requested that their privacy be respected at this very difficult time.

While IMMAF President, Kerrith Brown, has also released a statement following Carvalho's death.

"We have been alerted to the tragic passing away of competitor, João Carvalho, following his match on Saturday night at the National Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, and offer our deepest sympathies and prayers to his family and friends".

"We are in the process of gathering information with the support of the Irish Amateur Pankration Association and await the outcome of official medical reports. In the meantime we cannot comment further on this isolated and very sad incident, other than to say that we offer our support".

Further comment from the IMMAF added that the Irish Amateur Pankration Association, the body in charge of implementing amateur rulings for fights in Ireland consistent with those used across the world, is a "young governing body formed from within the MMA community in the Republic of Ireland" and have worked to "put regulatory structures in place". 

However, they also added that "the IAPA has no legal mandate or funding, and has no power to enforce any protocol".

Acting Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring said "I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of Joao Carvalho following an event in the National Stadium on Saturday evening. I extend my deepest sympathies to his family."

Mr Ring added that he expects there will be an investigation, but will refrain from further comment until the results of that process are known.

The Department also underlined that "extreme fighting / mixed martial art fighting is not a sport recognised by Sport Ireland.  It does not receive any funding or support from Sport Ireland" and "has never sought recognition from Sport Ireland as a national governing body of sport".