The Will County State's Attorney's office is reviewing a Dec. 17 mixed martial arts event in Joliet, IL that resulted in a 20-year-old amateur becoming paralyzed, officials confirmed Wednesday.
"Obviously there was a serious injury that occurred," spokesman Charles Pelkie said. "The state's attorney wants to make certain the citizens of Will County are protected if these (MMA) events are going to be conducted."
He said the situation was "under serious review" to determine if criminal charges should be filed. Officials are reviewing all aspects of the event, including the promoters, the bar the show was held and any related boxing or MMA laws.
A minute into his fight at Mojoes, a downtown bar in Joliet, Jeff Dunbar tried a desperation move to escape the hold of his opponent. He fell forward and spiked his head into the canvas and his opponent landed on top of him.
It was Dunbar's seventh fight. Doctors said he will likely never walk again. He remains hospitalized and undergoes physical therapy daily.
Police Chief Mike Trafton confirmed the state's attorney asked them to investigate and they are doing so.
Following the state's attorney's review, the city of Joliet plans to develop an ordinance that would ensure further safeguards at MMA events, said Mayor Tom Giarrante.
A state law designed to provide better safeguards was signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn last summer, but specific protections for amateur safety — including requiring promoters have insurance for fighters — won't take effect until a rulemaking process is complete. Dunbar would have been eligible for the insurance if the rules were in effect, Rep. Skip Saviano, a sponsor of the bill, has said.
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