Fighter dies in Michigan in unregulated bout


Michigan currently regulates professional MMA, but not amateur. Given that there are far, far more amateur than professional fights, and that amateurs, being amateur, are more vulnerable to unscrupulous promoters, the need for Regulation at all levels is pressing.

Nowhere have there been a greater number of reports of problems with amateur fights than in Michigan. In fact, the State of Michigan has so egregiously failed to adequately regulate amateur Mixed Martial Arts that the Association of Boxing Commissions last year took the unprecedented step of asking the member commissions to bar amateur Michigan fighters, or those who have recently competed in Michigan.

In Michigan, pre-fight screenings for amateur MMA fighters are minimal or non-existent, as all safety regulations are left entirely at the discretion of the promter. Fighters under 18 can compete. There are no extra medical requirements for fighters 35 and over. No ringside physician is required, or even an ambulance.

Last month a Michigan state house committee held a meeting to address the regulation of amateur fighters. A similar bill passed the state house in the last legislative session, but died in the state senate.

For years there have been warnings that the woeful state of regulation was jeopardising the health and safety of fighters.

And now one of them has died. Felix Elochukwu Nchikwo, a 35-year-old Nigerian living in Hamilton, Ontario, on a student visa died Saturday following his participation in an unregulated amateur MMA bout in Michigan.

The event was put on by the Amateur Fighting Club, who posted the following statement on their Facebook page.

“Last night’s event, April 6th, we lost a member of our MMA family and we would like to take this time to honor him. This is a tragic turn of events. We will keep his family and friends in our prayers and we ask you to do the same. May God be with them in this devastating time of loss. To us, this tragedy will not end today. He will remain in our hearts and on our minds. Further information will be posted at a later time.

'Showdown' Joe Ferraro has the story.

Pablo Elochukwu, who recently moved to Ontario in 2012, was apparently very excited to compete in his first MMA bout. Unfortunately, it would be his last.

The heavyweight, who sources say weighed 265 pounds for his MMA debut on Friday and was also a three-time gold-medal winner on the local grappling circuit, was competing in an unsanctioned event in Port Huron, Mich. According to sources, neither he nor his opponent was required to undergo pre-fight medicals for their bout.

The first two rounds were said to have been mostly grappling, but the inexperienced fighters both began showcasing signs of fatigue, especially in between rounds two and three.

Sometime in the third round, Elochukwu was mounted and was not intelligently defending what were deemed to be soft hammer fists. The referee made the decision to halt the bout, potentially believing that Pablo was not going to be able to improve the position he was in.

Elochukwu appeared to be fine during the announcement of the final decision and walked away on his own accord, albeit, with some assistance to ensure the fatigued fighter could make it to a seat.

When he did sit down, those around him noticed something was wrong and offered him some orange juice, believing his blood sugar may have dropped significantly. He then fell off the chair.

Paramedics showed up within minutes and apparently revived him, but took him away to be safe... Shortly thereafter, Elochukwu passed away.

Read entire article...

An autopsy was conducted on Sunday. Cause and manner of death have not yet been determined, as the coroner is awaiting the results of lab tests.

The Nigerian name Elochukwu means "God's Plan."



The American Legion
1026 6th St.
Port Huron. MI
April 6

Event poster:

Event Promo:

Event gallery:

Images courtesy of LeAnn Kobe Photography...
Thanks to for the initial information.


Recent Comments »

KingRice site profile image  

4/10/13 8:30 AM by KingRice

Guy trained out of my gym, didn't know him personally but I'd see him around, guy was full of energy, very sad R.I.P

Atomic site profile image  

4/10/13 8:13 AM by Atomic

Welcome to MI state. Sad news.

WikiTheWalrus site profile image  

4/9/13 6:29 PM by WikiTheWalrus

On a side note, I know what the UFC did to get MMA legalized in Michigan. All of the lobbying the UFC did, the State could have easily added in regulations for ammy fights. I am not blaming the UFC, because it isn't their fault. I do think it's really messed up that the state legislature couldn't get an ammy bill passed without a big pocket like the UFC pushing for the bill.

WikiTheWalrus site profile image  

4/9/13 6:25 PM by WikiTheWalrus

Anyone make it to the first fight in Lansing, MI after MMA was legal? It was promoted by Ron DeLeon. He had Rashad Evans there and Rashad announced his fight with Chuck. Anyway, there was a guy in the audience who was asked if he wanted to fight on the card because they needed an extra fighter. The dude agreed. If you were at the event, that was the guy who had the basketball shorts duct taped around the waist to keep them from falling off.Michigan has needed ammy regulations from the very beginning. It's really sad that someone has to die before the state legislature can pass a bill.

CREason good fighters lose site profile image  

4/9/13 6:05 PM by CREason good fighters lose

I've seen some amazing athletes out here fighting in Michigan, it's really a sad state of affairs from what I have read.I have been to an event before and it seemed safe enough, but that's because I am pretty sure Quincy Rice aka TrainJudo does things differently than most promoters.Either way you are taking this risk when you fight regardless of sanctioning, deaths will be a part of combat sports forever.RIP big man

Ham and Egger site profile image  

4/9/13 6:03 PM by Ham and Egger

"And Io, do I see my fatherAnd Io, do I see my motherAnd my sisters and my brothersAnd the line of my people,Back to the beginning...And Io, they do call me,In the halls of ValhallaWhere the brave may live forever!"

Rusty Shackleford site profile image  

4/9/13 4:58 PM by Rusty Shackleford

Jesus Christ I just came in to say RIP I didn't realize who it was. I saw him weighing himself last Tuesday, he was 266. Didn't know him on a personal level at all but my condolences to his family.

David Mortensen site profile image  

4/9/13 3:50 PM by David Mortensen

I had a blast in an ammy MMA fight for tuff n uff in vegas, but was admittedly a little scared before the fight at the lack of required medical screening.   There may have been a form I had to fill out ahead of time (Thought i don't recall), but when I asked about blood testing before the fight they said they didnt require it, or even a doctors physical.  I showed up the day of weigh ins, filled out a form, had my pulse and blood pressure checked and i was cleared to fight.  I was obviously concerned about communicable diseases, but i went ahead anyway.   Looking back that was so stupid of me, shouldnt have put myself in that kind of a position.

luctaro site profile image  

4/9/13 9:06 AM by luctaro

Ammy boxers fight several times a week and get several weigh-ins during those days, their ammy structure and number of weigh classes allows them to do this. Same day weigh ins are a bad idea for PRO-MMA, it can be done the right way in amateur environment. This is not my believe, it is the reality for many years in ammy boxing. Ammy mma just needs to have the same security and rules to defend their bodies that ammy boxers enjoy.

Seats Taken site profile image  

4/9/13 8:44 AM by Seats Taken

Same day weigh ins are a bad idea. People would still cut weight and be way more susceptible to head injury. Weight cutting is a combat sport cultural thing. A rule change wouldn't stop it.