Retired UFC fighter turned analyst, Alan Jouban, has taken to Twitter to voice his thoughts about the death of a BKFC fighter this week.
According to BKFC president, Dave Feldman, via MMA Junkie, Justin Thornton died after injuries sustained in a knockout loss at BKFC 20 in August.
Jouban having heard the news expressed his displeasure at the matchmaking, considering Thorton’s record and age.
“38-year-old man, upside-down record coming off 5 first-round stoppage losses vs an 11-1 fighter who had already beaten him,” Joban tweeted. “Gets KOd, never recovers and dies. This is not a sport to get paychecks and promoters have to be more responsible in these matchups. Prayers to his family”
This is not the first combat sports death this year. An 18-year-old Mexican boxer, Jeanette Zacarias Zapata, died just last month after being knocked out at IGA Stadium in September.
“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 in a statement to MMA Junkie. “We join the rest of the combat sports community in sending our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Dillion Cleckler, Thorton’s opponent, also commented on the death, citing pneumonia as the reason for his passing.
As a fighter nothing prepares you for the news I received this morning on my way to training,” Cleckler wrote on Instagram. “Some of you may not of heard yet but my last opponent Justin Thornton passed away last night due to pneumonia. I can’t help but feel absolutely devastated about this because I’ve known Justin for years. Not many people know this but we fought 8 years ago and he told me right away he wanted the rematch. I know that when he got the phone call to finally get that rematch on a bigger stage he saw a huge opportunity and took it. Justin is a warrior. It’s in his blood to fight. He loved it. He fought anyone, anytime and anywhere and when I didn’t have an opponent, he still jumped at the opportunity to get in there with me again. Any man or woman who steps in the ring or the cage is special, they take a risk that 99.99% of the world would never take and sometimes I still don’t know why we do it … but Justin was a fighter his entire life and deserves nothing but respect!!! My thoughts and prayers are with Justin Thornton and his family at this time. RIP warrior.”
The knockout happened at BKFC 20 when Cleckler caught him with a right hook that dropped him in just 18 seconds. He had reportedly been in the hospital on a ventilator ever since.