Fau Vake, a former XFC middleweight champion, has died. Vake, who had been in critical condition since last Sunday, was just 25 years old.
Vake was injured after an attack on Symonds Street in central Auckland. Four men were arrested in relation to that incident. Initially, two of the four men were charged with common assault, another was charged with two counts of assaulting with intent to injure and another was charged with wounding with intent and injuring with intent.
Three of those men are aged 29. The other is 32-years-old.
NZ Herald reports that further charges will now be handed down against the men. Police are currently appealing for people who witnessed this incident to come forwards. “If you can assist our enquiries, please contact Police on 105 quoting the file number 210516/8173,” said Detective Senior Sergeant Geoff Baber of the Auckland City CIB.
Though police have not publicly stated any details regarding what happened on Symonds Street, it is thought that Vake was the victim of a ‘coward punch’ (aka a sucker punch) while he was waiting for a taxi.
Vake’s coach Eugene Bareman and training partner Israel Adesanya have both spoken to the press about coward punches and their wish that such attacks be given stricter penalties than New Zealand’s laws currently allow.
“In the past decade there have been numerous deaths from punches thrown when people are not looking,” said Adesanya to TVNZ. “Given the massive publicity these crimes have received, no one is dumb enough to think there is not a serious risk of death. There is no excuse, it should be considered attempted murder or murder.”
In 2018 New Zealand’s parliament rejected a bill that would punish coward punches with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. That bill was styled after similar laws that did go into effect in the Australian states of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
Since his passing many fighters from City Kickboxing and New Zealand have paid tribute to Vake. Among them are UFC champions Adesanya and Alex Volkanovski and UFC fighters Dan Hooker, Shane Young and Kai Kara-France.
Those fighters also shared a crowdfunding campaign designed to help provide for Vake’s family, including his 3-year-old daughter. At this time of writing that campaign has raised $34,282. You can donate to that campaign here.