Joao Carvalho Tragically Dies in Dublin After MMA Bout on Saturday

Fightland Blog

By Peter Carroll

Image via Nobrega Team facebook

This is a black day for mixed martial arts, as Joao Carvalho passed away on Monday night in Dublin.

The Portuguese fighter was hospitalized following his third round TKO loss to SBG’s Charlie Ward at TEF 1 on Saturday, which took place at the National Basketball Arena. According to Eventmed, in-fight and post-fight protocol was fully observed for the fighter on the night.

Yesterday, Eventmed owner Katarzyna Michlic told SevereMMA.com that there was a team of three doctors and seven medics at the event to oversee the well-being of the competitors.

“The bout he was involved in was a three-round fight,” explained Michlic. “The first round was fought at a very fast pace, and at the end of it, he was bleeding from the nose.

“The doctors checked him between each round and each time he gave a full response to them. He responded to each question. He was asked where he was, what round he was going into and what day of the week it was, and all of his answers were perfect.

“When the referee stopped the fight in the third round, our team of doctors and medics looked after him as he was bleeding quite heavily from his nose. He was asked if he felt any pain or was suffering with any headaches directly after the fight, and he said he had no pain or headaches, but he did feel quite tired.

“It was explained to him that he had to visit the medical room that was set up in the venue and that he would have to go to the hospital afterwards, because the doctor recommended that he should have a CT scan after the fight. At this stage, the fighter was walking, talking and smiling. Everything seemed perfectly fine.

“After he walked back to the medical room the doctors did some tests backstage and there was nothing out of the ordinary about their results. They prepared the ambulance to take him to the hospital.

“Ten minutes later he started complaining that he was suffering from headaches. He felt a lot of nausea and he began to vomit. Five minutes later he was significantly worse so we got him into the ambulance and rang the hospital to let them know he was coming.”

Taken to Beaumont Hospital, a facility that specializes in neurology, Carvalho was reportedly in “a serious condition” until late on Monday night when he passed away. The promotion, TEF, confirmed the news via a statement at around midday today in Dublin.

“The TEF Team are deeply saddened by the news of João Carvalho’s death. Last night 11th of April, mixed martial artist João Carvalho passed away after 2 days of the best medical care and treatment in Beaumont Hospital following his three round TKO stoppage defeat on Saturday 9th April at the National Stadium in Dublin.

“Following the referee stoppage João, who was representing Portuguese club Team Nobrega, was assessed by doctors and medical staff at the onsite medical office as per normal procedure. It was determined that he should be sent to the hospital. In hospital he received emergency treatment and transferred to ICU later that evening. Formal hospital medical reports and procedures are still being carried out. João was 28 years of age.”

The Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA) is currently working with TEF “to gather and evaluate all relevant fact and event processes”, according to the founder and president of the organization SBG head coach John Kavanagh.

“IAPA is working diligently with TEF to gather and evaluate all relevant facts and event processes and will participate in any investigation. Our condolences and thoughts, though, are with Joao’s family and friends and we kindly ask everyone to respect their privacy at this time,” Kavanagh wrote in a statement he posted on his Facebook page.

Referee Marc Goddard also publically passed on his condolences and claimed that Carvalho’s death had been to a “closed head (brain) bleed”.

“It is with utter sadness and a heavy heart that the news of a young man Joao Carvalho who had fought this past weekend in Ireland has lost his life following a closed head [brain] bleed. The news was reported and confirmed via the coach/team page this morning.”

This morning’s news has already sparked a national debate on the legitimacy of mixed martial arts. Throughout the day, several media outlets, including the national broadcaster RTE, have carried debates about the sport in their programming, following Carvalho’s death.