Ex-UFC heavyweight Tim Hague died this summer two days after getting knocked out by Adam Braidwood in a boxing match. Hague, who was 34 at the time of his death, had been working as a teacher and was supposedly retired from boxing when he took the fight against WBU heavyweight champion Braidwood on a few weeks notice. Given Hague’s poor boxing record and lack of preparation, it was a shock to see him even step in the ring against Braidwood.
After his death, the city of Edmonton and the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission ordered a third-party review of their policies in order to “improve safety at future combat sports events.” The review, which can be read in full here, determined that the ECSC hadn’t followed its own mandatory suspension policies with regards to Hague, and if they had, then he wouldn’t have been allowed to fight in at least two boxing matches that took place under ECSC’s watch.
Hague fought on Sep. 9, 2016 in Edmonton just two months after losing an MMA bout in Russia by knockout. He should have received a 90-day suspension after getting knocked out in Russia, and after he got knocked out again on Dec. 2, Hague should have been suspended 180 days by the ECSC. In both cases, he returned too early, got knocked out yet again, and was assessed by ringside doctors who did not have access to his full fight record, and could therefore not levy the proper suspensions.
The review offered a number of recommendations, including the adoption of a provincial regulatory body instead of a municipal one, immediate suspensions for fighters who suffer head injuries, and more training for officials. Edmonton and the ECSC stressed that the purpose of the inquiry was not to establish fault or legal responsibility for Hague’s death, and it’s remarkable that they undertook an honest effort to improve their practices and keep fighters safer in the future.