Posted on July 1, 2010 · Posted in Brain Injury

I’d like to think that one day I won’t  have to write another one of these types of blogs. But today is not that day.

On Monday mixed martial arts fighter Michael Kirkham died of a brain hemorrhage that he sustained Saturday during his professional MMA debut. His death is under investigation by the South Carolina Athletic Commission.

Kirkham is the second fighter to die in a certified MMA match. I’d like to hope he’ll be the last.  But I’m not so sure about that.

The match was held in the sleepy town in Aiken, S.C. Giant 6-foot-9, 30-year-old Kirkham was competing in the “Confrontationat the Convocation Center,” an event that was regulated by the South Carolina Athletic Commission, which is doing an internal probe of the fight.

Kirkham was hit and lost consciousness early on in his fight, and couldn’t be rousted. He received medical care from a doctor and medics in the ring and then was taken out by stretcher.

He was brought to Aiken Regional Medical Center, and never regained consciousness from the time he was struck in the ring to his stay at the hospital.

A memorial service was held for Kirkham on Tuesday in Beardstown, Ill. His father, Dennis Kirkham, told a local newspaper that he absolves the fighter who was in physical combat with his son, and doesn’t blame him for Michael’s death.

The elder Kirkham also vigorously defended mixed martial arts, despite the tragic death of his son. The father said that more people have died playing football than in MMA matches, so mixed martial arts shouldn’t be banned, despite what the sport’s critics say. If you bar mixed martial arts, you should bar most sports, according to the grieving father.

Most respectfully, we think he should rethink that logic.

It’s one thing to forgive someone who accidentally killed your son. Don’t defend the sport, which really is to blame for the death.


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447