Indian MMA fighter Nikhil Suresh died on Wednesday after succumbing to injuries that he sustained during his fight at the K1 Kickboxing championship in Bengaluru. The tragic news was shared by his coach Vikram Nagaraj on social media.
“With profound sadness, I shoulder the burden of breaking the terrible news that we all dreaded. My boy Nikhil decided to hang his gloves today. His beautiful soul left us behind after a hard-fought battle in the early hours of today in spite of the best medical attention. He will be etched eternally on our hearts and memories. I am shattered beyond words by my loss. Today I have lost a son. We pray almighty to give us all enough strength to bear the unbearable. My deepest condolences,” the caption read.
Nikhil was competing in a kickboxing tournament that was being organized by the K1 Association of Karnataka on the 9th and 10th of July 2022. During his match, he endured a fierce punch that knocked him out and forced him onto the mat. He was then taken to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Nikhil’s team has indicated that legal processes have been begun by the family against the K1 Association. His coach Nagaraj stated in his Facebook post that the venue did not have an ambulance or trained medical personnel. He also added that Nikhil could have been saved if he could get immediate medical help. The coach also demanded that the organizers of combat sports tournaments in India reform their safety standards to prevent such catastrophic incidents.
In India, combat sports are popular, but the scene is quite unregulated. There haven’t been any major kickboxing events except the now-defunct Super Fight League that promoted MMA in the country.
Nikhil had recently competed at the 6th Open MMA Championship in Karnataka and the 5th MMA India Nationals in Madhya Pradesh. He trained at the Academy of Martial Science, a camp in Mysuru that provides kickboxing, Muay Thai, and MMA training.
There are definitely many potential fighters in the country, but this tragedy appears to be a heartbreaking reminder of the dangers of fighting at events that lack sufficient medical standards.