Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Tim Hague, a former UFC fighter, died from brain trauma after a boxing bout on June 16, 2017, in Edmonton, Alberta. He was clearly outmatched being knocked down three times in the first round with an arguably fourth knockdown that the referee deemed a slip.

In the second round, Hague was dropped for a fourth official time and allowed to continue. Shortly thereafter the final knockout blow landed.

Hague walked to his dressing room before collapsing into a coma. His family took him off life support two days later, and he passed away on June 18, surrounded by loved ones with his favorite songs, including November Rain by Guns N' Roses, playing in the background.

Hague had a history of recent brain trauma prior to the bout.  He suffered a series of recent combative sports losses by KO and TKO.

Serious questions arose regarding the regulation of this bout and Hauge’s suitability to be licensed.  Earlier this month Hague’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Alberta.

The suit names numerous parties including the City of Edmonton, the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission (the “ECSC”), Pat Reid who was the Executive Director of the ECSC at the time, David Aitken who allegedly was responsible for Reid’s hiring, Len Koivisto who was the referee for the bout, along with two ringside physicians and the promoter of the event.

The suit alleges that some of the defendants were negligent or grossly negligent and in the case of Reid goes so far as to allege he was criminally negligent showing “a wanton or reckless disregard for the life and safety of Tim Hague.

Alberta law requires pleadings to specifically quantify sought damages.  The lawsuit seeks a total of $4,268,000.

On Monday the family held a news conference, sharing personal details about Hague's final days and updates about their ongoing lawsuit.

In a statement, Hague's brother Ian Hague recounted Tim's death. He spoke about the family's experience following the tragic incident.

"We all remember this like it was yesterday," said Ian, as transcribed by Anya Zoledziowski for CBC. [Removing the fighter from life support] was "the worst decision we had ever had to make."

The family also tried to stop the boxer from competing in what was to become his final match.

"I know you're all thinking, 'Why didn't you tell him to stop?'" said Ian. "Trust me, we did."

Following the funeral, Tim's family received a series of messages suggesting the death could have been prevented.

"We started getting calls, emails, texts, information we had no idea about, infuriating information that makes us think maybe this could have been prevented after all, and maybe we should get a lawyer to look into this information for us," said Ian.

Two injury lawyers, Ari Schacter and Norm Assiff, were also present at Monday's news conference and also commented, alleging that Reid failed to report two of Tim's fights, one in December 2015 and another in March 2016.

If those results had been forwarded and made accessible, "a reasonable sports commission would not have licensed Tim Hague to compete in combative events allowing him to sustain additional trauma that ultimately resulted in or contributed to his death," the suit reads.

"There were a lot of breakdowns that occurred," said Schacter. "It originated at the very top at the City of Edmonton and just went all the way down. Once there was an initial failure, it just set into motion almost like dominos falling. And then everything just combined into one tragic event."

Assiff also commented.

"This fight should never have taken place. It's clear. Our investigations have shown that," said Assiff. "It's unfortunate no one has taken responsibility yet, but someone will at the end of the day, and if they don't, well, we will have to run this at trial."

If the family gets a settlement, Ian said he hopes the money will help support Tim's son Brady, who is still in therapy following his father's death.

"This settlement will give Brady some comfort in the coming years," said Ian. "Some comfort his father will not be there to give him."