Miracle: Brazilian fighter in a coma for 200 days from weight cutting is recovering
On January 27, 2018, Brazilian featherweight Alexandre Pereira da Silva collapsed as he was making the final weight cut for his professional MMA debut at Shooto Brazil 80, in Rio de Janeiro. Pereiras' cut was reportedly just 8 pounds but he went into convulsions when he exited a hot tub.
The fighter arrived at the hospital in critical condition, suffering from cerebral edema with renal complications. He reportedly suffered a heart attack at the hospital and had a blood clot in his brain. Pereira slipped into a coma and remained in that state for months, fighting infection and organ failure, with his weight dropping to as low as 88 pounds.
Alexandre's father Magno said that his son suffered rhabdomyolysis, a syndrome characterized by the leakage of muscle cell contents into the bloodstream, which can lead to kidney damage. The two most common causes of rhabdomyolysis are strenuous exercise and heat stroke.
Pereira was an experienced combat sports athlete, with ten amateur and two pro Muay Thai bouts. He had one amateur MMA fight, a majority decision win over Marcos Silva at Shooto Brazil 73, on May 28, 2017. His pro debut was to have been a rematch vs. Silva. This was not an accident or incompetence. The fighter was by all accounts following common weight-cutting practices.
“We see that he’s trying to talk, but the tracheotomy doesn’t allow him just yet,” said Magno to Cruz. “We put him in a wheelchair one of these days and took him for a ride in the hospital and everybody was happy to see his recovery.”
Magno has stayed in Rio to be near his son, some 500 miles from his home in Nanuque. Although a partner is running the business, the leather trade is down, so the father is selling his truck and farm to finance costs.
“I’ll do everything for Alexandre and his recovery,” said he father. “We see that he’s getting better. Anything that the health plan doesn’t cover, we’ll pay for it even if we have to sell everything we have.”
With Silva's weight up to close to 115, the family hopes for his release from the hospital so he can live with home care, a destination best suited for his recovery. Before that can happen, the fighter's final three bedsores has to resolve. Five have already healed after surgery and treatment.
“We’ll wait another four or six weeks and maybe he can go home,” said the father. “He’s no longer in a coma, but is still unconscious. He doesn’t really have consciousness of what’s happening around him. The doctor said they will remove the tracheotomy in two weeks, and he’s already eating.”
”We’re so happy to see him breathe on his own and getting better. The doctors told us at first that if Alexandre survived, he would be in a vegetative state, and now we can see he’s trying to talk, he moves his arms. … He tries to interact. It’s like the doctor said, he doesn’t have full consciousness of what’s happening, but no one even thought he would be able to eat again.”
“We’ll go anywhere for him. We will sell everything we have and find him the best treatment.”
“One, five, 10 years from now, I’ll call you and say, ‘Guilherme, do you remember Alexandre? Look at him now.' That’s a story he will be the one to tell one day.”