Last night, Guilherme Cruz with MMAFighting.com reported the tragic death of Leandro "Feijao" Souza as he prepared for his weigh-in yesterday.
The Brazilian fighter Souza was reportedly in the process of cutting weight ahead of his bout against Gabriel Brasil, the fight was to take place today (Friday) on the Shooto Brazil 43 card in Rio de Janeiro.
The fighters death, and subsequent cancellation of the Shooto Brazil 43 card was confirmed on Shooto president, André Pederneiras' Facebook page. Pederneriras' post states that the reasons behind the fighters' death are not currently known, but sends out condolences to his family and friends.
MMAFighting.com's original report of Souza's death quotes Andre Santos, a teammate of Souza, stating that the death was related to his weight cut for the fight. If these comments are proven, and weight cutting is the cause of Souza's death, it will likely lead to calls for tighter protocols regarding weight cutting for fights.
I read an excellent article here on Bleacher Report a couple of weeks ago by Khurram Aziz about weight cutting in MMA. In the article, Aziz referenced some of the potential complications of weight cutting, including deaths that have occurred as a direct result of weight cutting in other sports.
Rapidly cutting weight is a dangerous game, whether using the "tried and tested" methods discussed by Aziz, or whether attempting to simply dehydrate yourself to remove all water from your system. Aziz goes on to point out that no deaths related to weight cutting have occurred within MMA.
Souza's loss could turn out to be a tragic first for MMA—a prospect that everybody linked to the sport would gladly avoid. My thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends of Souza for their tragic loss.