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Fighter says he died in the cage after cut, was revived

C.J. Hancock: "Well I died tonight in the cage. My heart stopped, and I had kidney failure, they did CPR and hit me with the defibrillator twice and brought me back."
C.J. Hancock

Clovis 'C.J.' Hancock reportedly had a hard cut for his fight vs. Charlie Ontiveros at LFA 26 on Saturday, finally weighing in at 170.5. He had fought as high as 205 as an amateur. Hancock appeared to collapse in the middle of the fight for no apparent reason, and the bout was halted.

Alert LFA cutman David Maldonado recognized that something was amiss and signaled medical personnel to respond. Hancock said on his social network that his heart stopped and that he was revived in the cage.

"Well I died tonight in the cage," he wrote. "I'm okay. Thanks everyone. I'll reply when I can. My heart stopped, and I had kidney failure, they did CPR and hit me with the defibrillator twice and brought me back. Still unsure why it happened. I had a hard weight cut. Doc says I shouldn't fight again. I'm broken, I guess I'll just be a coach from now on.. I still plan on competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and BJJ superfights, when I get better. Thanks to everyone that supported me!"

In a statement to Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting, highly respected LFA CEO Ed Soares provided further detail.

"It's a very unfortunate situation where C.J. Hancock took a body kick during his fight,” said Soares. “After the kick landed, there was a few second delay, and then he collapsed in the cage. Our cutman David Maldonado immediately recognized the problem and signaled to the medical team sitting cageside. They were able to resuscitate and stabilize C.J. and took him to the hospital via ambulance where they determined he had suffered kidney failure. C.J. is currently recovering and in the company of his friends and family."

The next day Hancock reported that he was out of the hospital and back to his normal weight.

"After 8 bags of saline I'm back up to 206," he wrote. "Feeling much better just got home from the hospital. Feeling a little sick and out of it from the medications."

The culture of extreme weight cutting in mixed martial arts has killed another person. This time he was revived. What's going on is crazy, and in plain sight.

The purpose of weight divisions is for safety and fairness, but it is one of the most dangerous aspects of the sport. In no other sport are the athletes expected to reduce themselves to a dangerously debilitated state just a day before the most intense physical exertion imaginable.

It’s bad for the promoters and the fans - they get a less conditioned fighter. It’s terribly bad for the fighter - it has caused long-term health issues for a large number of athletes, and is linked to at least two deaths. And cutting solves nothing – both fighters cut and end up putting on weight.

Andy Foster, executive director of the California State Athletic Commission has put together a 10 Point Plan to fix the issue. It works. The ABC medical committee supports it. The ABC has adopted it. The UFC supports it and will continue to adopt further parts of it.

It is now incumbent on commissions to implement it. Hancock cut from 206 to 170.5. That's 17% of his bodyweight.

Dehydration is classified as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the percentage of body weight lost. Mild dehydration is 5-6%, while moderate is 7-10%. Severe dehydration is over 10% and is a life-threatening condition, requiring immediate medical care. Hancock lost 17%, and his heart stopped in the middle of a fight.

This is another wake-up call, as loud as a foghorn. Not responding is deaf and dumb and far worse.