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Pro MMA Fighter Booto Guylain Dies After Bout in South Africa

LONDON - FEBRUARY 10: Ashleigh Grimshaw in action against Ronnie Mann during the Cage Rage Championship 20 Born to fight event at Wembley Arena on February 10, 2007 in London, England. Cage Fighting also known as MMA Mixed Martial Arts is a mixed fighting style combat sport with a steadily growing international fan base. MMA is an evolving combat sport where competitors combine different disciplines that include jiu-jitsu, judo, karate, boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and others to their strategic and tactical advantage in a competetive arena.  (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
Scott HarrisFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2014

Professional MMA fighter Booto Guylain passed away Wednesday after suffering a severe head injury in a Feb. 27 bout in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was 29.

Guylain, a middleweight with an 0-2 record, sustained the injury in a TKO loss to Keron Davies at an event hosted by the Extreme Fighting Championship Africa promotion.

The announcement came in a statement from EFC Africa's website (h/t Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting). 

"We are devastated," said EFC Africa president Cairo Howarth in the statement. "This is a huge loss to the sport and to all who know him. Our thoughts are with his family in this trying time." 

Guylain, a native of Cape Town, South Africa, lost both of his professional bouts by TKO and under the EFC banner. The loss to Davies came in the third round.

He is the second professional MMA fighter to die in the past six months. In late September, Brazilian fighter Leandro Souza died before a fight for the Shooto Brazil promotion due to organ stress suffered during his pre-fight weight cut.

Booto Guylain
Booto GuylainImage via Booto Guylain's Facebook

According to the EFC Africa statement, Guylain sustained a head injury from Davies' elbows at the end of the third round and was taken in for emergency treatment right after the fight. 

"Immediately after the bout he was stabilized by the on-site medical team and transported to hospital where he was treated for swelling and bleeding on the brain," the statement read.

Guylain is the third pro MMA fighter to die as a direct result of injuries suffered in professional MMA competition. No fighter from the UFC or any other major MMA promotion has ever died as a direct result of injuries during sanctioned competition.

Pro fighters Michael Kirkham (age 30) and Sam Vasquez (age 35) passed away after suffering cerebral hemorrhages in their bouts, in 2010 and 2007, respectively. Amateur fighter Tyrone Mims (age 30) also died following a fight in 2012, but the results of his autopsy were inconclusive. 

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