Fighter Dies In the Cage, Revived Moments Later

Fighter pays a high price for weight cut.

Clovis Hancock died and was resuscitated before leaving the Arena Theatre at LFA 26 in Houston on Friday night. Hancock was fighting Charlie Ontiveros, but all he remembers is waking up in a hospital bed.


In the second round, Hancock collapsed. He wasn’t breathing, went into cardiac arrest, and his kidneys failed.

“As soon as I engaged, I felt it right away,” Hancock told MMA Fighting on Tuesday. “My body wasn’t responding like it normally does. The strength just wasn’t there. I felt lightheaded. The next thing you know, second round, boom, fall over and wake up in the hospital. Everybody tells me they had to give me CPR and hit me with the defibrillator. I couldn’t believe it. I was blown away.”

Maldonado, a licensed physical therapist, told MMA Fighting that he performed CPR and Hancock was given tracheal intubation, a tube put down this throat to aid breathing. The EMTs then hit the fighter once with an Automated External Defibrillator (AEC).


“I would say there were five minutes that he was dead,” Maldonado said. “Him even having a [heart] rhythm, someone could argue and say that’s some form of life, but no. By the time there was anything reactionary or something like that, that looked more like a voluntary or self-propelled movement was not until he was almost in the ambulance. And even then, that was just one time.”

Hancock’s only explanation now, along with the heart contusion, is unsurprisingly the weight cut. He said he was trying to cut 45 pounds for weigh-ins last Thursday.

“I think a lot of it had to do with me having a really hard weight cut. I cut from 215 to make 170. I think that had a lot to do with it. My heart enzymes were up, they were all out of whack. Honestly, I’m not sure, though.

“It was the biggest weight cut I’ve ever really did. I’ve had pretty bad weight cuts in the past, but this was the worst one.”

Ontiveros did land some blows on him before he went down, Hancock said. But it wasn’t the punches and kicks that did him in, Hancock believes. He knows he has experienced worse than that.

“I’ve been hit by vehicles on motorcycles and that didn’t happen to me,” Hancock said. “I was severely dehydrated. I think all of it together caused it. I thought I rehydrated properly, but I obviously didn’t, because when I got to the hospital they said I was severely dehydrated and I soaked up six bags of saline quick, within like four or five hours.”


Hancock was released from the hospital Monday. And the doctors told him he should never fight again. That, he said, is the worst part. And he does plan on going in for tests in the future to attempt to get cleared to compete in the cage again. After six weeks is up, Hancock said he’ll refocus on his Brazilian jiu-jitsu and enter into tournaments and superfights.

“Even though it sucks I can’t fight any time soon, I feel like I have a purpose. I feel like somebody is looking out for me. Obviously there’s a reason I was brought back. I need to figure out what that is and go forward with it.”

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