Fight fans have been rocked by the tragic news that MMA veteran Justin Thornton has died weeks after suffering a horrific knockout in the United States.
He was just 38 years old.
Thornton was knocked out cold by Dillon Cleckler during his Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) debut bout in Mississippi in August.
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The veteran fighter collapsed to the canvas seconds into the fight after taking several vicious blows to the head and face.
After lying motionless inside the ring for several minutes while medical staff attended to him, the American heavyweight was rushed to hospital with serious injuries.
A September 23rd post on Thornton's Facebook page detailed the extent of the fighter's condition, with his injuries leaving him partially paralysed.
Thornton also required assistance breathing and suffered an infection in his lungs and spinal cord.
His partner Amber Willard revealed at the time that the fighter was awake and in good spirits, with hopes he would recover from the brutal incident.
It's not immediately clear what Thornton's cause of death was or the reasons behind his sudden decline.
BKFC President Dave Feldman confirmed Thornton's tragic passing in a statement on social media.
"This morning we were very saddened to be notified of the passing of one of our fighters, Justin Thornton, who competed at BKFC 20 on August 20, 2021," Feldman said.
"We join the rest of the combat sports community in sending our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones."
Fight fans rocked by tragic news
The awful news rocked the MMA community as fans paid tribute to the fighter on social media.
Very sad news.... Learning of the passing of Justin Thornton. Justin passed away this morning after battling through injuries and complications that occurred as a result of his latest bare knuckle bout at BKFC 20 in August.
— Eric Kowal - MyMMANews.com (@MyMMANews) October 4, 2021
BKFC fighter Justin Thornton dies after suffering knockout at BKFC 20 in Mississippi. He was 38 years old.
BKFC president Dave Feldman issued a statement to me regarding Thornton’s passing.#RIP https://t.co/CEWKTgp8gZ
— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) October 4, 2021
— Adam Martin (@MMAdamMartin) October 4, 2021
RIP Justin Thornton, condolences to his family and loved ones🙏❤️ https://t.co/TCevK0U3Zj
— The MMA Media (@The_MMA_Media) October 4, 2021
Awful to hear about Justin Thornton. A truly unfortunate reminder that all combat sports are dangerous and the athletes competing are risking quite a bit, both long-term and short.
— PaTrick or Treat Connor (@PatrickMConnor) October 4, 2021
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