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MMA fighter dies after bout at Expo Five in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — An amateur fighter died Saturday after an Mixed Martial Arts fight in Louisville.

Donshay White fought Saturday night at Expo Five on Seventh Street Road during the Hardrock MMA 90 fights. A witness said White was having trouble defending himself but wouldn’t submit, so the referee stopped the bout about two minutes and 20 seconds into the second round. White’s opponent, Ricky Muse, was declared the winner in his first amateur fight. 

The Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission said White received medical attention on site before being taken to the hospital.

“He looked exhausted,” BJ Ferguson, another fighter who witnessed the fight, said of White.

Officials with Bluegrass MMA said White, who was from Radcliff, Kentucky, collapsed backstage after the fight. A doctor and medics were already on scene at Expo Five, but they could not revive him. He was pronounced dead at 9:02 p.m.

“Absolutely the worst possible fear as a promoter of Mixed Martial Arts is somebody would, one, get injured or hurt severely and, two, lose their life,” said Gary Thomas with Hardrock MMA. “So every emotion of sadness, fear and remorse just overwhelms you.”

The promoter of the fight, Hardrock MMA, is now shifting focus to what went wrong. The Shively Police Department opened a death investigation, and the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office has not ruled on a cause. It’s pending toxicology and autopsy results, though officials suspect cardiac arrest. 

The Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission is doing its own autopsy, examining policies, procedures and rules for MMA. Last year, the agency overseeing combat sports in Kentucky re-wrote all of its bylaws, adding more medical provisions for amateur fighters. 

“I just hope the sport can continue,” Ferguson said. “I don’t want to see them try to shut it down because this happened.”

White passed two physicals last week, including one an hour before this fight. White’s former trainer, Billy Smith, was not in his…

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