Mixed martial arts fighter dies from injuries

  • Follow Aiken

AIKEN --- A fighter in Saturday's mixed martial arts event in Aiken died Monday of injuries he suffered in the fight.

Mixed martial arts fighter Michael Kirkham took several blows to the head Saturday during an event at USC Aiken.   Special
Special
Mixed martial arts fighter Michael Kirkham took several blows to the head Saturday during an event at USC Aiken.

Michael Kirkham, 30, was pronounced dead at 8:25 a.m. at Aiken Regional Medical Centers as the result of a brain hemorrhage, Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said.

Kirkham had competed in six amateur matches, but Saturday's Confrontation at the Convocation, held at the University of South Carolina Aiken's Convocation Center, was his first professional match, Carlton said.

The full-contact combat sport involves a variety of fighting techniques.

Kirkham, of Gaston, competed in one of 15 fights during the MMA event.

"During the event, he had received several blows to the head during the first round of his match," Carlton said.

"The referee stopped the match. He lost consciousness, and he never regained consciousness," he said.

The coroner and officials of the State Athletic Commission are reviewing video of the match to determine whether any charges will be filed.

An autopsy will be conducted today in Newberry.

Comments (18) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
storiesihaveread
369
Points
storiesihaveread 06/28/10 - 02:16 pm
0
0
Sad very sad my heart goes

Sad very sad my heart goes out to the family.

DowntownDemon
0
Points
DowntownDemon 06/28/10 - 02:48 pm
0
0
Reviewing video to see if

Reviewing video to see if charges will be filed? It was voluntary and that is the risk involved in this type of fighting. It has been around long enough to know the risk are high.

fighterzack
4
Points
fighterzack 06/28/10 - 03:27 pm
0
0
I was not there, but I heard

I was not there, but I heard about it from all of our guys. It was not an extreme or brutal fight, from all accounts it was just a horrible accident. Our sport is very safe, and both guys just went in and competed like they usually do. Apparently he had a blood vessel in his brain that burst, this could have happened in football, rugby, etc. I am very sorry for the fighter's family, and for his opponent, a very good guy himself. God's plan, not ours.

maninthamirror
0
Points
maninthamirror 06/28/10 - 03:34 pm
0
0
Charges, what the?

Charges, what the?

Mwilli5009
0
Points
Mwilli5009 06/28/10 - 03:34 pm
0
0
I don't think anyone can word

I don't think anyone can word it better than Zack did (and anyone around martial arts in CSRA knows a better source for this information doesn't exist). Simply a tragic accident. My thoughts go out to his family, friends, and training partners.

30cal
0
Points
30cal 06/28/10 - 06:30 pm
0
0
I know 2 men who compete in

I know 2 men who compete in M.M.A. you would never guess it by the way they behave.MORE like a gentleman then most people I know ,except when getting sycked up for an event.
AS for the injury it could happen to anyone anytime . MY wife survived her anurisem. she had a severe headache come on while reading one evening(SHE WAS 35at the time)she survived because we went straight to the hospital which was only 2min. away.
regards to his family and friends

pruitt801
0
Points
pruitt801 06/28/10 - 08:13 pm
0
0
I was sitting in the first

I was sitting in the first row of the ringside seats that were right behind the time keeper. I recorded the match on my camera. However, 34 seconds into the match, the battery died.

When the bell rang, Kirkham's opponent charged in, feinted with a left hand and went in low to shoot the legs. He picked Kirkham up and slammed him to the mat (he landed on his butt). He had side mount and worked it into a top mount. Kirkham had his right arm around the neck trying to stay iin close. His opponent then sat up (pulling Kirkham into an essentially seated position.) He landed 2 left-handed punches and 4 right-handed punches to (what appears to be) Kirkham's head. At that point, the camera quit.

But, what I remember is that his opponent was almost facing me when he landed approximately 8 blows to the head before the ref stopped it. During that time, there wasn't much of an attempt to defend himself. However, the ref was on the far side and by the time he moved into a better position, he immediately jumped in and stopped the match.

He was awake when the stoppage occurred, but, lost consciousness almost immediately

This was a tragic accident, no question about it. Could it have been avoided? As a former U.S. Marine and practitioner of the martial arts, it's hard for me to say. Every person who enters the octagon (or any combat oriented venue) knows the risks and rewards. However, I do not believe that any "wrong doing" occurred to justify even the word, "charges" being mentioned in the release by the Aiken County Coroner.

My condolences to his family and friends for their loss. However, Mr. Kirkham died doing something he loved. So, if there is any positive to take from this tragedy, that would be it.

Rest in peace!

veggie-d
0
Points
veggie-d 06/28/10 - 08:21 pm
0
0
accident???...uuhhhh???...wha

accident???...uuhhhh???...what part of gettin kicked/punched in the head do you NOT understand can and WILL result in your death?...

zackfighter- "apparently he had a blood vessel in his brain that burst..." you're probably right about that zack, but...they're NOT made to be bashed/punched/stomped/kicked on..apparently that'll make'em burst

what part of being punched/kicked in the head until you die makes you an athlete?...this is no "accident" it is simply a "consequence"...and a ref will likely be found liable.

flipa
35
Points
flipa 06/28/10 - 08:22 pm
0
0
Our family’s greatest

Our family’s greatest condolences go out to his family, friends, and all who knew him.
I've been thinking about things my Nephew Forrest Griffin can do to give him more time between fights or not fight at all. So far he still loves to fight, but when he gets his bell rung a few more times i want to have some good suggestions of other ways to make a living that still keep him in the sport but not in the octagon so much. Any ideas???

angeleyes
0
Points
angeleyes 06/28/10 - 08:54 pm
0
0
so sad. my heart goes out to

so sad. my heart goes out to his family

fighterzack
4
Points
fighterzack 06/28/10 - 09:28 pm
0
0
Veggie-D, this is a sport

Veggie-D, this is a sport that has shots to the head just like football, boxing, tae kwon do, wrestling, etc. No one is trying to "kill" the other person, and rules and referees are in place to stop serious injury. However, accidents happen. There have been multiple deaths from boxing and high school football, but no one is calling for an end to these sports. The doctor that was there said that she has seen cases like this, people that were in otherwise good shape, but take a fall, or have a car accident, or anything like this, and the blood vessel will just give. Again, all safeguards were in place, and he obviously had done training and gone through worse than this before in the gym. Just a sad unfortunate accident.

DaddyFrog
46
Points
DaddyFrog 06/28/10 - 11:42 pm
0
0
I am sorry this poor boy had

I am sorry this poor boy had to lose his life.My sympathy goes out to his family.This type of fighting, sport, what ever you want to call it should be outlawed.I've watched it for a minute or two on tv, and those guys were trying to beat each other's brains out.When you've got a man down and continue beating him senseless, it is just plain brutality.

veggie-d
0
Points
veggie-d 06/29/10 - 06:41 am
0
0
fighterzack- first i am NOT

fighterzack- first i am NOT calling for a BAN of this "activity". just don't have ANY sympathy for anyone who dies doing this stuff!

however; to respond to your statements regarding other sports...MANY people have called for a ban of high school football and boxing has ALWAYS had folks trying to ban/regulate it more closely...it is HIGHLY unlikely he would have died WITHOUT the pounding to the head...if a tree branch would have fallen and hit his head, that MIGHT be considered an accident...but taking several unanswered blows to the head while the ref was "distracted/obstructed" is NOT an accident... it's likely going to go down as negligence and SOMEBODY will pay...but not NEARLY as much as this guy did!

Cadence
219
Points
Cadence 06/29/10 - 10:21 am
0
0
So sad. I have never

So sad. I have never understood the attraction of watching two individuals beat each other like this activity and boxing. It must appeal to a very base, animal part of the human brain. Now this young man is dead because of it. I guess that is what the audience goes there hoping to see. Like the wrecks in car racing. People never fail to confuse me. My heart goes out to his family as they must be in great pain today.

flipa
35
Points
flipa 06/29/10 - 10:31 am
0
0
i'm all for somebody being

i'm all for somebody being tried by a jury of their peers for negligent homicide. It has gotten to the point where something has got to be done or we WILL lose more people including maybe one of you. i KNOW Forrest and i for that fact have pulled our punches when we KNEW we were going to kill someone but most other fighters DON’T. That fighter should have known he was gong to win by landing that many blows he didn’t have to ring his bell THAT many times. ONLY fighters know this stuff and i grew up in a Do Jo. Now i do world ranked freestyle jet skiing and still hold a record.. As soon as i got away from home i switched to gymnastics or any other kind of non contact sport cause i knew my brothers & i and now my nephew almost killed some folks in the octagon and i didn’t think it was worth it.

mark greubel
0
Points
mark greubel 06/29/10 - 10:39 pm
0
0
Here is the link to donate to

Here is the link to donate to the family of Michael "Tree" Kirkham via paypal. The MMA fighter lost his life Saturday June 26th in Aiken S.C. due to injury from his bout. The funds are to help cover funeral expenses and to set up trust funds for his 5 children. Michael did not have life insurance. PLEASE help his family during this time of crisis. http://www.myspace.com/treekirkham

mark greubel
0
Points
mark greubel 06/29/10 - 11:28 pm
0
0
Here is the link to donate to

Here is the link to donate to the family of Michael "Tree" Kirkham via paypal. The MMA fighter lost his life Saturday June 26th in Aiken S.C. due to injury from his bout. The funds are to help cover funeral expenses and to set up trust funds for his 5 children. Michael did not have life insurance. PLEASE help his family during this time of crisis. http://www.myspace.com/treekirkham

Cadence
219
Points
Cadence 06/30/10 - 11:28 am
0
0
Five children and no life

Five children and no life insurance? Thanks dad for leaving us to starve.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Mayor's race historic, controversial

Hardie Davis is still waiting to take office after winning a mayoral race that featured no white candidates and saw one of his opponents drop out the day before the election.
Search Augusta jobs