MMA fighter Justin Thornton dies, aged 38, weeks after brutal KO
Thornton was knocked unconscious during a fight on August 20
MMA fighter Justin Thornton has sadly passed away aged just 38. His death comes just over a fortnight after he was knocked unconscious and seriously injured in a bare-knuckle fight against Dillion Cleckler.
As first reported by Eric Kowal of MyMMANews, Thornton died after the "injuries and complications" that occurred following the brutal knockout which occurred just 19 seconds into the fight which took place on August 20.
— MMA Fighting (@MMAFighting) October 4, 2021
Reports state that Thornton was partially paralysed after the fight and had remained hospitalised - largely on a ventilator - ever since. He was also struggling to fight off an infection from a spinal cord injury he suffered from the knockout blow and its subsequent fall.
The Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship President, Dave Fledman, confirmed Thornton's tragic passing in a statement on Monday October 4:
"This morning we were very saddened to be notified of the passing of one of our fighters, Justin Thornton, who competed at BKFC 20 on August 20, 2021. We join the rest of the combat sports community in sending our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones."
A GoFundMe had been set up to help cover his medical bills on August 25, with a goal of $5,000. The fundraiser will now, no doubt, go towards the family's medical bill and funeral arrangements.
Tributes have been pouring in online, with many also pointing towards the current state of combat sports and fight safety in America.
Sincere condolences to the family of Justin Thornton. This fatal night was his SIXTH CONSECUTIVE FIRST ROUND STOPPAGE. The 38 year old survived the first five. The state of combat sports regulation in America is atrocious. #boxing #mma https://t.co/VTlO7NGqSH
— Lou DiBella🥊 (@loudibella) October 5, 2021
A sporting tragedy.
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