Sam Vasquez (1-2-0) of Houston, Texas was pronounced dead a few weeks after his MMA featherweight (145 lbs.) bout with Vince Libardi (5-3-0). After numerous punches to the head, Libardi defeated Vasquez by way of knockout in the third round. The knockout was then followed by Emergency Medical Technicians who swarmed to the scene to treat Vasquez. The technicians did everything possible to rush Vasquez into a nearby hospital after he began to suffer a seizure.
Vasquez had a pre-existing blood clot, which forced him to undergo surgery to remove it at St. Joseph’s Medical Center. After suffering a second blood clot, fluid entered his brain. He then acquired a
stroke and slipped into a coma. He was later transferred over to the Harris County hospital on November 26. A few days later, on Friday November 30th @ 8:15 pm, the Harris County examiner gave the sad news to his family. The exact cause of death has not been released, but there will be further investigations done by the Texas State Athletic Commission.
Sam Vasquez passes away and leaves his wife Sandra Vasquez and his 7-year old son behind. He appears to be the first fighter in MMA history to die in North America after a bout. In 1998, Douglas Dedge of Florida, was recorded as the only other known MMA fighter to collapse and pass away. Dedge had suffered brain injuries coming into his fight, but he decided to fight anyway in an event known as the International Super Challenge in Ukraine.
Paul Erickson, who was taking pictures during the event stated:
“There was nothing out of the ordinary…They scrambled and hit the cage. Sammy looked a little wobbly when the
referee called the doctor in, but nothing [was] out of the ordinary.
Everyone was puzzled at the time, because no one could tell when or
where he was injured…the cage was properly padded and reinforced; everything was inspected
before the fights started, and there were no illegal moves or strikes.
This is the frustrating part, in that there’s no easy explanation, and
we’ll have to resign ourselves that sometimes unfortunate incidents
result, even when everything is handled properly.”