A man has died after his fifth MMA fight since taking up the sport only roughly a year ago. Dustin Jenson died after a brain injury following a loss at a May 18 South Dakota MMA event.
Dustin Jenson, 26, was participating in full-contact fights at a RingWars event May 18 when he tapped out - a signal to end the fight. According to his mother-in-law, Violet Schieman, Jensen then watched the next two fights before going to the locker room area, where he suffered a seizure.
Schieman said medical personnel determined that Jenson had increased pressure on his brain and put him in a medically induced coma before surgery was performed to relieve pressure. He was declared dead May 24 and was taken off life support the next day, Schieman said.
Schieman, who was not at the fight, said her daughter, Jenson's wife Rebecca Jenson, and several others told her the violence in the fight was "nothing out of the ordinary."
"Doctors have watched the video and said it shouldn't have happened," Schieman said. "They said the fight may have triggered a brain aneurysm, but it was not overly violent."
South Dakota has no governing body for MMA but this doesn't appear from the initial reports to be a case of negligent behavior on the part of the promoter, doctors or referee. That is not to say that regulation would have been a bad thing, or that maybe something would have been caught with better pre-fight medicals having been done, but simply that the story doesn't seem to lean on this being the shadiest of shady situations.
This is an unfortunate story and one that is very sad, it is also a reality of the sport.
I don't want to spend too much time speculating as to the specifics of this case, but pre-existing brain injuries or just random trauma to the brain from the fight can result in these situations. It's a reality of the fight game and something that will happen in a major event at some point. I don't say that to be ghoulish, but rather to hopefully allow the reality of the risks of a sport that features men hitting each other to sink in.
Stories like these should cause us to understand the importance of getting as much understanding as possible of how to monitor the safety of fighters in the future.
The staff of Bloody Elbow send our condolences to the family of Dustin in this difficult time.