We all knew it was going to happen sooner or later, but that doesn’t make it suck any less:
The Harris County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed today that Sammy Vasquez, a 35-year-old mixed martial artist from Houston, Texas, died on Friday, Nov. 30. Vasquez’s death appears to be the first documented fatality resulting from a regulated MMA fight.
Vasquez (1-2) suffered a third-round knockout loss to Vince Libardi during a Renegades Extreme Fighting bout on Oct. 20 at Houston’s Toyota Center. After the fight, Vasquez was taken to Saint Joseph Medical Center’s Critical Care Unit, where he began a 47-day struggle.
The official cause of Vasquez’s death has not been released, pending a determination from the medical examiner.
I’d been following this case quietly for about two weeks now, and figured the scene had dodged a bullet when it was reported that Vasquez was upgraded from critical to serious. But now it looks like that isn’t the case.
Lots of people have speculated on what would happen when the first MMA death occurred … if the media would pick up on it or if it would just slide like most deaths in boxing do. Dispite the press this is getting on Yahoo, I don’t think this will change anything in the larger picture for MMA. The media wants a sensational story where someone dies in the ring, not a depressing reality which took a month and a half to resolve itself.
As for our opinion on this … it consistantly amazes us that there aren’t about a zillion mma deaths a year, especially considering how many fights are going on every weekend in dive venues with barely any kind of safety or sanctioning in effect. You see pictures of Ross Pointon with a huge vagina on his forehead, or Sean Salmon getting carried out of a venue on a stretcher (again), and it reminds you a bit that this is a serious sport with serious ramifications. But the death of Sammy Vasquez really forces you to realize: Any time a guy steps into a ring or cage, they’re risking their health and yeah … their lives.
RIP Sammy Vasquez and condolences to the family.