Update: Sam Vasquez Dead at 35

By Sherdog.com Staff Dec 2, 2007
Regulated mixed martial arts has experienced its first casualty.

Sam Vasquez, who was stopped by Vince Libardi on Oct. 20 at the Toyota Center in Houston, died Friday at the age of 35, according to a report by TheFightNetwork.com.

The Harris County Medical Examiner, which confirmed Vasquez passed at 8:15 p.m. CT, has not yet released the cause of death, the report said.

After enduring separate surgeries to remove blood clots from his brain as well as a massive stroke, Vasquez was discharged from downtown Houston's Saint Joseph Medical Center Critical Care Unit and transferred to an area hospice on Nov. 26.

On Wednesday Sandra Vasquez, the fighter's wife, told Sherdog.com, "He's about to go." Two days later, Vasquez, the father of a 7-year-old boy, lost his battle with the apparent affects of a regulated mixed martial arts fight.

Vasquez joins Douglas Dedge as the second known fighter to lose his or her life due to complications stemming from a MMA bout. Following an unregulated contest in the Ukraine on March 16, 1998, Dedge collapsed and died.

Vasquez, who was licensed to compete by the Texas Boxing and Wrestling Program, took rapid combinations and a hard right punch to the chin from Libardi (4-3) in the third round.

In his third professional fight -- each of which were promoted by Saul Soliz, a veteran trainer who has worked with several UFC champions and a host of local Texas fighters, including the fallen Vasquez -- the referee allowed Vasquez (1-2) to stand after he was dropped. When the fighter subsequently collapsed the bout was called.

Repeated attempts to reach Soliz for comment went unreturned.

Eight minutes elapsed while Texas-mandated EMTs attended to the incapacitated Vasquez, who was eventually placed onto a stretcher and supported with a neck brace. His exit from the arena to Saint Joseph Medical Center was marked with a slight, occasional seizure visible to the cage-side audience.

Vasquez's hospital stay was first complicated by what doctors called a large "acute clot" that formed within the brain and required surgery on Nov. 4 to relieve pressure. The first clot was not a result of the initial injury Vasquez suffered, said his wife, Sandra. A "rare" second clot developed soon afterwards, said Vasquez's doctor, demanding another invasive procedure.

Listed in critical condition, the fighter was placed in a medically induced coma after suffering a stroke on Nov. 9 that prompted Vasquez's family to contact LifeGift, an organ donation center.

Like in the case of Dedge, concerns about Vasquez's pre-fight health have surfaced. At his age, Vasquez would have been required to undergo extensive pre-fight medical screening to gain a license in Texas.

Steve Bruno, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, said federal laws prohibit his agency from disclosing particular information regarding a fighter's application.

Prior to Vasquez's death, Bruno said the state has no plans for any sort of moratorium on mixed martial arts competition.

Jaime Martinez contributed to this story
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