Brazilian mixed martial artist Mateus Fernandes died after suffering a technical knockout loss in an amateur bout in Manaus, Brazil, on Saturday.
Fernandes faced Obed Pereira in a bantamweight bout at Remulus Fight, where he was dropped to a knee by a combination of punches from his opponent. Pereira landed one more blow on his down foe before the referee stepped in to halt the contest.
Fernandes died a few hours later at a local hospital after suffering multiple heart attacks. He was 22 years old. According to a report from MMAFighting.com, Fernandes was fighting as part of a social project that helps people battle drug addiction through martial arts.
Project coordinator Vanderluce Cantuarias told MMAFighting that Fernandes’ death was due to drug use, not the punches he took in the fight.
“He did exams on Friday and was clean, but ex-students told us later that he spent the night using drugs,” Cantuarias said. “He didn’t appear to have used anything. He was sweating a lot, but that is common, the adrenaline of the fight. He did great in the first couple of rounds, but was rocked in the third round and went down, and then he started having seizures caused by the drugs.”
The event was regulated by the Amazonas Athletic Commission (CAMMA). CAMMA president Wallace Alves said that Fernandes passed his pre-fight blood exams, but did not have his heart or brain checked prior to the bout.
“I’m feeling numb right now, really upset,” Alves told MMAFighting.com. “He was rushed to the hospital and had his eyes open the entire time. He was dizzy, but still awake. He was examined in the hospital and then suffered the first heart failure. They tried to save him for two hours, but he ended up dying.”