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Shooto fighter dies hours before weigh in

Nova Uniao fighter Leandro "Feijao" Souza died Thursday hours before weigh-ins for today's Shoot Brazil 43 card in Rio de Janeiro. The cause of death remains unknown at this time.

Guilherme Cruz

Sad news from Brazil today.

26-year-old Flyweight Leandro "Feijao" Souza (1-1), a member of Nova Uniao and Delfim Cacadores, died yesterday during his weight cut for Friday's Shoot Brazil 43 card in Rio de Janeiro just before the weigh-ins. MMA Fighting's Guilherme Cruz reported the news:

"We are sad to report the death of Leandro Caetano de Souza," Shooto president Andre Pederneiras wrote on his Facebook page. "The athlete has passed away in Botafogo's UPA. We don't know the reasons why yet. We would like to express our condolences to all friends and family."

"We don't have much information yet," Feijao's teammate Andre Santos told, "but we do know that is related to his weight cut. He's my student but he also trains at Nova Uniao for about a year. I wasn't with him during this process because I have a fight scheduled in Russia, so he spent the night at Nova Uniao's gym. His sister called me saying that he had passed out so I went to the hospital, but he was already dead when I got there."

As of now no cause of death has been determined but the speculation that Souza's death was related to the rigors of cutting weight to compete at 125 pounds is inevitable. Hopefully a thorough autopsy will determine the cause of his death and if indeed it was related to dangerous weight-cutting practices that those practices will be modified for fighter safety.

UPDATE: via MMA Fighting The Shooto Brazil 43 event has been cancelled. Here's some more info about Souza's weight cut via Souza's teammate Andre Santos:

According to Santos, Souza was called in on short notice to fight on the card and needed to lose 33 pounds in one week. He still had 11 pounds to lose in the last 24 hours. Souza was trying to cut two remaining pounds when he passed out inside the sauna.

UPDATE 2: via MMA Fighting:

Joao Ismar, the chief of police in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, told UOL that the exams conducted by Instituto Medico Legal (IML) has showed that Souza suffered a stroke, but they will keep investigating to check if his weight cut is related to the 26-years old fighter's death.

"It's too early to say that he died because of the effort he was doing to lose weight," Ismar said. "We need to check his medical records because it's not normal to see a young kid like him suffering a stroke. IML is working to get more information so we can get in a conclusion, then we will start an investigation."

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