Ultima Fight Series held their debut show, all amateur, on Saturday, September 17, in Arnold, Missouri. Kevin Cox was fighting James Mccaffie when audience members report he started acting strangely, and not properly defending himself.
After the first of the scheduled three, three-minute rounds, Cox froze up, and collapsed to the ground motionless, without a pulse.
“We were sitting there watching it,” reported witness John Dunlap. “The guy, he just wasn’t defending himself. He was falling over a couple of times. And then when they did the break in the fight, all of a sudden his whole body kind of seized up. And then he just dropped, like a sack of potatoes. Just straight to the ground.”
Footage obtained by KSDK shows medics franticly working on Cox, reportedly for several minutes. Audience members reportedly held hands and said prayers in concern.
Mercifully, Cox was rushed to the hospital, and is now out of danger.
“I just want to say thank you to all who were praying for me,” Cox posted to his social network late Sunday evening. “I hate that it made the sport look more dangerous. It is dangerous but also very fun. What what happened to me could have happened walking your dog it just so happened that I was fighting while it happened. Thank you Steve Berger and Carly Berger and the whole Ultima Fighting series crew for everything you did including medical and a hige sorry to the kiddos i know it was a scary situation.”
Highly respected MMA coach, retired fighter, and event promoter Steve Berger offered Cox a public message of support.
“Since I’ve seen your post about the hell you went through this weekend, I know it’s safe for myself to post about your situation,” he wrote. “Kevin collapsed and his heart stopped after the first round of his fight this weekend. I told your mother, in 20 years of fighting I have never seen anything like that. There is always a first time for everything, I hope I never see a second! I know I can speak for Carly, your opponent, James Mcaffie, the team, and the whole auditorium that was there that night when I say we are so glad you won the only fight that really mattered that night! Congratulations buddy. We wish you a healthy recovery. The fact that you’re up and moving around shows that you definitely have a fighter’s heart! God bless you.”
According to Missouri state law, the athletic commission can only regulate professional shows. The apparently near-fatal incident on Saturday illustrates the necessity of regulation at both the professional and the amateur levels of the sport.
And above all, there is extraordinary relief that Kevin Cox’s heart restarted.