Canadian fighter Tim Hague died on Sunday from brain injuries suffered in a boxing match. The former UFC heavyweight was only 34 years old and had been boxing in addition to competing in mixed martial arts since 2011. Hague was taken to an Edmonton hospital in critical condition with a "serious brain injury" after being knocked out by Adam Braidwood at the KO 79 boxing match held at the Shaw Conference Centre in Alberta, Canada on Friday.
"It is with incredible sadness, sorrow and heartbreak to report that Tim has passed away today," Hague's sister Jackie Neil wrote on Facebook. "He was surrounded by family, listening to his favorite songs. We will miss him with so greatly. We ask for privacy during this difficult time."
Adam Braidwood vs Tim Hague from June 17th, 2017 from the Shaw Confrence Centre.
During the match, Hague was knocked down several times, but it wasn't until he was reportedly unconscious that the referee called for a finish to the action. He remained on the canvas for several minutes following the knockout and later went into a coma.
Edmonton Combative Sports Commission executive director Pat Reid said they extended the request due to Hague’s condition at the time.
"Following the news that boxer Tim Hague is in critical condition following a professional boxing match on Friday, June 16th, we have extended the request for reports to all referees, ringside judges, physicians, chief inspector, paymaster and the presiding inspectors assigned to the bout," Reid said in a statement. "We will determine the next steps following the evaluation of these reports."
Hague appeared in four UFC fights between 2009 and 2010. He beat Pat Barry in his debut at UFC 98 with a guillotine choke despite being the underdog, but went on to lose his next three fights. Following his release from the UFC in 2011 after a first round TKO loss to Matt Mitrione, Hague wrote on Facebook that he was going to take a break from MMA to "let the brain heal" from a concussion.
Before becoming a fighter, Hague was a Grade 4 English teacher at École Bellevue School in Alberta. In a statement to CBC News, the school's principal Jennifer El-Khatib said he was "a beloved teacher and staff member. His students loved him and looked up to him, and he was an important part of our school community."
Like football, MMA has a high rate of head concussions and athletic commissions are charged with providing a reasonable amount of suspension time between fights, especially where the competitor has been knocked out. Hague was knocked out twice in 2016, once during an MMA bout and once during a boxing match. His 33-second first round loss to Michał Andryszak via head kick and punches came in July of last year. He lost his December boxing match by TKO to Mladen Miljas.