Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight bruiser, Tim Hague, who crossed over to boxing after a lengthy career in mixed martial arts (MMA), died last June as a result of injuries sustained in his knockout loss to fellow pugilist Adam Braidwood.
A death that may have been preventable.
That’s according to a third-party review from Meyers Norris Penny (MNP) LLP, assigned by the city of Edmonton to scrutinize the policy and procedure of Edmonton Combative Sports Commission (ECSC) and then-director Pat Reid.
ECSC policies regarding suspensions were “not followed” for the event in which Hague sustained his fatal injuries, according to Bloody Elbow, as “The Thrashing Machine” suffered three KO/TKO losses within a span of one year and should have been ruled ineligible to compete.
In addition, there appears to be some murkiness in the books when it comes to athletes switching back and forth between MMA and boxing. It should also be noted that Hague accepted the fight on short notice against a combatant ranked No. 1 in Western Canada.
It appears the system failed him by not protecting him from himself.
Let’s just be frank about it: People are going to die in combat sports, regardless of how many safeguards are put in place, because the goal -- particularly boxing — is to strike an opponent in the head until they fall down.
The only defense we have against that unfortunate reality is a stringent ruleset, rendered ineffective when overlooked or arbitrarily applied.
The 34-year-old Hague suffered eight knockouts in 13 losses in cagefighting, and despite a submission win over stocky striker Pat Barry back in 2009, was unable to find success as a UFC heavyweight.
Hence the transition to the “sweet science.”
“I only started training four or five years ago so I’m just happy to be where I am and I’m living the dream, man. One thing about me is you’ll never see me quit. You can turn my face into mashed potatoes and I’ll keep going.”