Some mixed martial arts fighters literally give everything they have when they enter the octagon. Michael Kirkham paid the ultimate price, as he died early Monday following his professional MMA debut Saturday in Aiken, S.C.
Kirkham was taken down early in the fight and lost by referee stoppage. When he did not regain
consciousness, medics removed him on a stretcher. The lightweight nicknamed "Tree" for his height (he was 6-feet-9), was just 30-years-old.
Competing in the Dash Entertainment and King MMA co-promoted "Confrontation at the Convocation Center" event at the USC Aiken Convocation Center, Kirkham had "severe bleeding in the brain" and had been kept on life support, according to his teammate John Yox.
"Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with his family, other than that I have no comment," Sam King, a promoter of Saturday's card, told MMAFighting.com.
Kirkham becomes the second fighter to pass away due to causes from a regulated MMA fight in the U.S. The first known death in a regulated event was Sam Vasquez, who died on Nov. 30, 2007 from head injuries on a local card in Houston, Texas.