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Thin cage padding may have caused Sammy Vasquez’s death

While a 100% definite answer has proven elusive, it looks like inadequate padding against the cage posts may be the culprit in Sammy Vaquez’ death last October:

“We are looking into the padding on the posts,” Parham told the committee. “There are no specifications on the post padding-The padding on the post only [requires] an ‘adequate’ [amount].”

Committee member Dr. Ivan Melendez concurred with fellow official Dr. Walter Lee’s opinion that the post in question was “the definitive culprit,” but vowed to remain objective with his interpretations.

“You have to take all things into consideration. He [Vasquez] did have head blows; he did hit his head on the mat; and he did hit his head on the post,” remarked Dr. Lee. “I can’t sit here and say that [Vasquez’s head striking the post] did it. I think it may have been a summation of the events that took place during the match.”

From Vasquez’s autopsy report, Dr. Melendez referenced the subdural hemorrhaging and the blunt force trauma Vasquez died of. He concluded that there was no way of definitively determining which blow received was the one that caused the fatal damage.

Parham later told that the padding of cage posts would be explored in depth given Vasquez’s noticeable reaction after hitting his head in the first round. This would include a mandatory minimum amount of padding instituted. Current state law allows for TDLR to modify rules at their own discretion. Legal matters concerning the regulatory body, however, must be addressed through Texas’ state legislature, which convenes once every other year.

  • Gong

    … Elusive like Machida? ;D
    This might not have been the best time to do that joke.

  • fightlinker

    Sure, in that if either are ever tracked down and dealt with I will be VERY HAPPY!

  • MarleyMarl

    Shit, I didn’t even know that anyone had died in MMA, doesn’t surprise me though.

  • garth

    that’s the second MMA-related death.

    RIP Sammy

  • clint notestine

    It sounds like Sam was a human pin ball in the cage, very sad.

  • fightlinker


    Although apparently if you’re Korean you don’t count. Oh well!

  • garth

    first i saw of that. accepted dogma was 2 deaths.
    that sucks

  • Gong

    Holy shit, there’s another one? That does raise a question on undocumented deaths. It’s really shady when they happen in underground, unsanctioned/obscure fights. I’m not sure if that should exactly ‘count’ as an MMA death.

  • garth

    yeah, the whole point of the last ten years was the struggle for sanctioning, for official recognition as a sport. to be tarred with unsanctioned events would suck for the sport, but at the same time the market, the desire to see it is encouraged by the leading orgs. the very act of accepting it in the mainstream can lead to more stuff like this as folks assume “well, it’s legal, anyone can do it”.

    sports of any sort are dangerous. athletes accept risk by doing what they do. what about diving? someone jacks up their skull on a 10m board, do we ban it? some kid gets paralyzed for life on the football field…do we call em all off? I saw a dude break his own spine headbutting the padded basketball stanchion in frustration. he ended up paralyzed.

    danger is part of life. something gets all of us in the end.

  • MarleyMarl

    Yea you right Garth, there would be alot of deaths in motor sports as well.