For the actual article shown below please click HERE.

Autopsy confirms MMA fighter died from head injury in bout
6/29/2010 11:57 PM
By KAREN DAILY Staff writer

Autopsy results confirmed that Mixed Martial Arts fighter Michael Kirkham died Monday from a brain hemorrhage that he suffered after he received multiple head blows during a bout at the USC Aiken Convocation Center Saturday.

Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said the death has been ruled accidental.

"We are still awaiting the video of the fight from the S.C. Athletic Commission," said Carlton, and he would not comment further on the events that led up to the death.

He said they are waiting on blood sample results.

"We will be looking for any medication or stimulants that may have been in his system," he added.

Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said Kirkham was taken to the hospital Saturday night after being knocked unconscious in the first round of his bout at the event.

Carlton said Kirkham was struck five or six times in the head.

Witnesses said emergency medical technicians were performing chest compressions on the unconscious man while he was being readied for transport to Aiken Regional Medical Centers. He was admitted to the hospital Saturday about 10:30 p.m.

The fighter, who was not wearing protective head gear during the fight, never regained consciousness, the coroner said.

About 8:25 a.m. Monday, Kirkham was pronounced dead. The S.C. Athletic Commission responded to the death Tuesday with a written press release that outlines the rules and state regulations surrounding MMA. The law requires that promoters and their fighters meet specific criteria in order to fight in the state.

Those requirements include fighters having pre-fight physicals, eye exams and blood tests to screen for hepatitis B and C and HIV. There is a promoter's checklist that must be submitted to the Athletic Commission prior to an event, the written release stated.

"On Saturday, June 26, 2010, MMA Fighter Michael Kirkham was injured during a fight and died two days later. The event was sanctioned by the International Sport Karate Association (ISKA), a recognized sanctioning and regulatory body for combat sports and competitive martial arts. Representatives from ISKA and the Athletic Commission were on-site during the event," the release stated.

The death is under investigation by the Aiken County Coroner's Office. The Athletic Commission is conducting an internal review of that fight. Because it is under investigation, the S.C. Athletic Commission is not releasing any further information.

Contact Karen Daily at