Aspiring mixed martial artist Michael Kirkham passed away back on June 28 after succumbing to a brain hemorrhage that resulted from head trauma suffered in his debut loss at "Confrontation at the Convocation" from the USC Aiken Convocation Center on June 26 in Aiken, South Carolina.
MMA Fighting has a detailed look at the final days of the fallen fighter. Specifically, his passing and the possible correlation between his June 26 fight and a TKO loss suffered in an amateur bout prior to that on April 24.
The condition is known as "second-impact syndrome."
"This could have been second-impact syndrome. From a few days to three-to-four weeks after somebody suffers a significant blow to the head, a second blow can trigger an overwhelming response by the body that we still don't really understand. Even a minor blow could result in massive swelling of the brain and there's up to a 50 percent chance of dying."
A brain scan as part of a pre-fight medical exam may have detected such a scenario; however, outside of New Jersey (famous for the Thiago Alves intervention prior to UFC 111), few commissions require the procedure.
And few fighters can afford it.
Regardless of circumstance, Michael Kirkham is gone. It's a sobering reminder of the risk aspiring fighters take when they embark on a career in combat sports.