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Matt Mitrione on Tim Hague’s death: ‘It’s a massive call for unionization, better pay and life insurance’

Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

The combat sports world is still reeling after former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Tim Hauge passed away on Sunday (June 18, 2017) after suffering a brain hemorrhage as result of getting knocked out in a boxing match in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

More on the devastating news here and here.

Among the many people mourning Tim’s passing is Matt Mitrione, who defeated “The Thrashing Machine” at UFC Fight Night 23 back in 2011. According to “Meathead,” they became good friends after the fight and kept in touch over the years, which is why he admits he’s very upset and struggling with his untimely death at just 34 years of age.

“It sucks man. And I heard about a post he made on Facebook where he said he just wanted to get some money so he can have a great Father’s Day with his kid,” said Matt during a recent sitdown on The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “There’s no easy way to sugar coat it. It’s a horrible situation. I know how proud he was of his son. I know how proud he was to be a father. He was a really good dude. And I mean, it just sucks.”

According to Mitrione, though Tim’s death was a result of a boxing match, it should still be a call for a unionization in mixed martial arts (MMA), as every fighter takes the chance of death or never leaving the cage or ring the same. And if there aren’t proper insurance policies in place, then families are left with a bigger burden.

“This should be a massive call for unionization. Like, hey look, what’s going to happen with Tim? What’s going to happen with his son?” said Matt. “I freely make the comment that we deserve to get paid as well as we command or should get paid, because we take the chance of never leaving that cage the same ever again, every time we walk in there,” he added.

“This is exactly the scenario I’m talking about. Whether you, god forbid, die from a situation like this, or lose use of something because of an impact or an injury or whatever the situation is, we deserve to have financial security for something like that. We deserve that if you ever fought in the UFC and something like this happens that there needs to be some kind of life insurance put into it.”

Indeed, many groups (like this one and this one) have attempted to form a union, but neither have been very successful in reaching their respective goals.

As for Mitrione, he will return to action this weekend (June 24, 2017) when he faces off agaisnt Fedor Emelianenko in the co-main event of Bellator 180 inside Madison Square Garden in New York City.

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