Former UFC fighter Tim Hague is has died following a knockout punch in a boxing match on Friday night. 33-year-old Hague faced former Edmonton Eskimos defensive end Adam Braidwood at the Shaw Conference Centre in an event promoted by KO Boxing. Before being cut from the UFC roster in 2011, he was known as “The Thrashing Machine.” He took some time away from fighting after his cut to, in his words, “let the brain heal from my concussion, and get the passion/fire back.” He subsequently became an MMA fighter, leaving that profession last year and setting his sights on boxing. Before Friday’s fight, Hague had not fought since April when he faced Jared Kilkenny, a fight he lost by TKO. His overall record is 21-13 according to MMA Weekly.
Tim posted videos to Facebook in which he talked about his excitement about facing a world champion, saying the match against Braidwood “is basically the moment I’ve been waiting for.” He stated that Braidwood had mentioned to him that he didn’t yet have an opponent for his next fight, and Hague stepped up.
When his opponent knocked Tim out, he hit the mat hard. His head bounced off the ground, and he lay still in the ring on his back. After an evaluation backstage, he was transported to the hospital where doctors performed surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. He was in a coma at the time. Hague was pronounced brain dead on Saturday. News of his death came from his sister Jackie Neill on Sunday afternoon.
BREAKING: Family: "It is with incredible sadness, sorrow and heartbreak to report that Tim has passed away today." https://t.co/5rptdUW182— 630CHED (@630CHED) June 18, 2017
CBC News reports that fellow fighter Ryan Ford who had trained with Tim Hague since 2008 was at the fight and thought it was obvious from early on that the fight was a big mismatch saying, “[Braidwood] fights full-time, where Tim Hague is a school teacher and does this part-time, and it shows in the ring.” Ford commented that Hague seemed to not be sufficiently trained to face Braidwood and spent most of the fight defending himself. Some believe the fight should have been stopped sooner.
The fighter was a kindergarten teacher before he started fighting, and had been working as a personal coach at a UFC gym. Global News quotes the gym owner Alicia Landry as saying,
“Tim started working for us in April of this year, but he was member with us first. He wanted to coach MMA. He came aboard with us as a personal coach. He wanted to help people meet their fitness goals and develop a love of the sport. He is one of the most genuine people we’ve had the pleasure to meet. Always smiling and… a positive presence.”
Hague’s friend and corner man Victor Valimaki said he was highly motivated by his nine-year-old son Brady and was saving some of his fight money for his future.
[Featured Image by Eric Jamison/AP Images]