According to, a South Carolina mixed martial arts fighter died from a traumatic brain injury following his pro debut at the USC Aiken Convocation Center in Aiken, SC. The man, 30-year-old Michael Kirkham, had six amateur fights to his name before this fight and lead the Fayetteville Independents MMA team.

The fight, which took place on Saturday night, was ended by the referee in the first round after Kirkman was taken down early and beaten on the ground by his opponent. Kirkman did not regain consciousness after the fight and was put on a stretcher and taken to Aiken Regional Medical Center for treatment after doctors treated him on the scene. He suffered from severe bleeding in the brain and never regained consciousness. He died on Monday morning from his traumatic brain injury after being on life support for two days. Investigators are waiting for the results of an autopsy. 

Local MMA fights like this one are overseen by the South Carolina Athletic Commission, who requires fighters to submit blood tests, and eye exam, and a physical exam. The SC Athletic Commission is reviewing the fight while the Aiken County Coroner’s Office will also be investigating the death. The event, “Confrontation at the Convocation Center,” was sanctioned by the International Sport Karate Association and co-promoted by Dash Entertainment and King MMA.

Mixed martial arts was legalized in South Carolina in 2009.