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South Dakota Man Dies Following MMA Fight

Posted on by MMAWeekly.com Staff

Dustin Jensen, a 26-year-old amateur mixed martial artist, died following his fight at RingWars on May 18 at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, S.D.

Jensen, according to a report by the Rapid City Journal, wasn’t involved in an overly violent fight, but did tap out to a triangle choke.

His mother-in-law, Violet Schieman, said that Jensen then hung around and watched a couple of the following fights before returning to the locker room area, where he suffered a seizure.

Jensen was taken to Rapid City Regional Hospital and diagnosed as having increased pressure on his brain. He was put into a medically induced coma before having surgery to reduce the pressure.

“He did not wake up after the surgery and was declared brain dead at 10:23 a.m. (on May 24),” according to Schieman. “He remained on life support until his organs were donated.”

It wasn’t immediately clear what the correlation, if any, was between his fight and Jensen’s death. Shieman said her daughter, Jensen’s wife Rebecca Jenson, claimed that nothing extraordinarily violent happened in the fight.

“Doctors have watched the video and said it shouldn’t have happened,” Schieman said. “They said the fight may have triggered a brain aneurysm, but it was not overly violent.”

An autopsy was scheduled to try and gain further insight into Jensen’s death.

South Dakota currently does not have a regulatory body overseeing mixed martial arts.


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  • elguapo

    Sad news, my thoughts go out to his family. I hope this doesn’t bring out the “ban barbaric combat sports” campaigns again. The truth of the matter is that any intense exercise can trigger a pre-existing medical condition. We had a football player here in England have a massive heart attack during a match. He was “dead” for 47 mins I believe but by some sort of miracle he survived, and he was found to be suffering from an undetected heart defect.

  • http://www.bloodyfists.net/forums/index.php SHORT_BUS

    RIP. That sucks. Will be interesting to see what comes out of the autopsy. I would assume there was some sort of pre-existing medical condition that went undiagnosed. Remember Thiago Alves a few years back? CT scan caught his issue.

    Anyone know what (if any) kind of pre-fight medicals amateur fighters are required to go through in South Dakota before they are allowed to fight?

    • http://MMAWeekly.com Ken Pishna

      It was an unregulated event, so who knows. At that point it is pretty much up to the promoter and what he’s willing to do. But most amateur events that I have attended that have a doc, just do simple routine checks for blood pressure and things like that, asking questions about medical history and the like. And that is if they had a doc check the fighters, which I don’t know either way if they did or did not.

      • jtmma

        I compete in an unregulated state and that about sums it up. One promotion has a “Dr” (local chiropractor who wants free tix) that checks your skin for infection and asks obvious health questions. One promotion I’ve fought for has nothing but a pre-fight agreement saying you aren’t knowingly contagious or hurt and won’t hold them responsible for anything. EMT’s are on hand for both shows but the actual pre-fight checks are basically non-existant.

        • Anthony

          JT, Does it scare you that with no pre fight blood test , you could fight someone HIV+ and possibly be infected due to blood contact in the fight? I used to bounce in numerous night clubs for extra money through my 20′s and early 30s and sometimes we have to get a lil wet when we threw a guy out. When ever I came home bloody(didnt happen alot but it did happen) my ex wife would go balistic and about divorce me out of fear of catching a disease. Scary stuff bro.

          • jtmma

            I admit it does scare me a little bit, especially at the smaller show I mentioned, so I just try to make the fights quick and bloodless. Might not be what everyone wants to see but it gets me home safe and worry free

  • KBEsq

    This was eventually going to happen and my thoughts and prayers are with the family. That’s horrible for his wife. I hope there isn’t a harsh reaction to this.

    It’s still accurate to say that there hasn’t been a death/serious injury in PROFESSIONAL (wish MMA weekly allowed for italics) mixed martial arts.

    I think the points above are good ones regarding testing prior to the fight. Seems like it’s something that would have been seen if this were a UFC fighter.

  • http://www.bloodyfists.net/forums/index.php SHORT_BUS

    How does the state of Nevada handle amateur MMA? I know Barry and Jeff Jeff Meyer run a considerable amount of amateur shows with their “Tuff-N-Uff” promotion. I’d like to hear their take on how they run things, what emphasis they place on fighter safety and what (if any) oversight they receive from the state.

    I know in California we have the “California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization” (C.A.M.O.) and they regulate amateur MMA to a degree. There’s a lot of mixed feelings on C.A.M.O. though. Lot of people do not like them or the manner in which they “regulate” amateur MMA.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003311915309 georgesperry

    Isn’t it 2012?
    You don’t get HIV from touching someone with it, or touching their blood either. The infection has to get into your blood stream. That’s why intravenous drug users have such a high rate. It is also why gay sex can lead to it as some gay sex practice tears the skin opening the blood system to infection.

    • Booker T

      That sounds pretty sick.

  • Mendel

    True, but in a fight blood transfusion could easily happen where cuts occur.

    Also blood drips from people on top into people eyes which is another way for it to be transmitted. I realise the chances are slim but it is still possible.

  • arjay10

    re: “isn’t it 2012?”

    Some mma fighting practices “tear the skin, opening the blood system to infection” this just MIGHT be what the poster had in mind that would raise concern over lack of blood testing

  • http://twitter.com/CombatScienceMA CombatScienceMMA

    “South Dakota currently does not have a regulatory body overseeing mixed martial arts.” ENOUGH SAID…