Shooto Brazil president and Nova Unaio head trainer Andre Pederneiras announced the cancellation a few hours after he revealed that Nova Unaio fighter Leandro “Feijao” Souza, 26, passed away prior to weigh-ins on Thursday.
Pederneiras, as of yet, has not released details of Souza’s death, other than to say it took place in the Botafogo neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro.
Botafogo chief of police, John Ismar, in a statement to Brazilian news organization UOL, said that Souza died of a stroke, but the cause of the stroke was still unconfirmed.
“It is premature to attribute the death to the effort he would have done to lose weight,” said Ismar, before adding that a stroke is uncommon in at such a young age.
Souza’s teammate, Andre Santos, told MMAFighting.com on Thursday that he believed Souza’s death was related to his weight-cutting efforts.
Santos said that Souza was asked to fight on short notice and had to lose 33 pounds in one week to meet the required weight. He indicated that Souza still had 11 pounds to lose in the 24 hours prior to weigh-ins, and was trying to shed the final two pounds when he passed out in the sauna and was rushed to the emergency room.
The Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission on Friday confirmed Souza’s death and the event’s cancellation to MMAWeekly.com.
“(Thursday) Leandro ‘Feijão’ Souza passed away prior to the weigh-in of Shooto 43. The event, which was going to be held today in Rio has been cancelled by André Pederneiras, its owner,” said commission spokesperson Caio Lemos.
CABMMA officials plan to make an official statement once they have more information regarding the circumstances surrounding Souza’s death, but clarified that the Commission had no jurisdiction over the Shooto 43 event or its fighters.
CABMMA has a strict set of rules and safety regulations in place in accordance with the International MMA Federation. In Brazil, promotions have the option of following the rules and regulations set forth by CABMMA. If they do not, then CABMMA does not regulate that promotion’s events.
Shooto Brazil has its own protocols and medical guidelines, and is therefore not a CABMMA regulated event.