Autopsy: MI amateur fighter died of Cardiac Arrhythmic Disorder

Saturday, June 15, 2013

On April 6, Felix Elochukwu Nchikwo, a 35-year-old Nigerian living in Hamilton, Ontario on a student visa died following his participation in an unregulated amateur MMA bout in Michigan. Nchikwo lost the fight, apparently from fatigue but without suffering any notable punishment, and then told his trainer he felt poorly. He then collapsed and died.

Now two months later, results from the autopsy have been released.

An autopsy has found that a Nigerian man who collapsed and died after a mixed martial arts match in Michigan was killed by cardiac arrhythmic disorder.

The St. Clair County medical examiner’s findings were released earlier this week into the death of 35-year-old Felix Nchikwo. Doctors say the cardiac arrhythmic disorder resulted in Nchikwo’s sudden cardiac death.

Days after Nchikwo’s death, the Michigan House approved a bill that would impose regulations on amateur mixed martial arts events. The bill sets rules such as requiring that fighters receive medical clearance and requiring that an ambulance been on site.

The bills, passed by a 106-3 vote, would establish an advisory commission to oversee the events. Promoters would be required to provide at least $10,000 in insurance coverage for fighters, and participants would have to be at least 18 years old. Fighters also would have to submit tests proving they aren’t carrying blood-borne diseases such as HIV or hepatitis B.

The bills are now awaiting approval in the Senate, where similar measures stalled last year.

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There was no pre-fight asessment by a doctor, as the bout was unregulated, and thus no opportunity for an MD to have caught the problem via auscultation of the heartbeat with a stethoscope.