MMA fighter dies two days after debut defeat

Christian Lubenga died a few days after his debut in Springfield, Massachusetts

An MMA fighter and father passed away aged 27 after losing his first ever bout in Springfield, Massachusetts, with the cause of death still yet to be determined. 

Christian Lubenga made his debut on March 12 at an AMMO Fight League 10 event at the Big E.

Losing via a third-round TKO to Cody McCracken, he was then taken to hospital where he later passed away on Monday with his family and teammates at the Black Wolf Martial Arts gym in Orange, Connecticut, left shocked.

"We are at a loss of words. This is what a nightmare looks like," wrote the gym on Instagram. 

"It can’t even be properly articulated with words and on a social media post nonetheless.

"We wanted to give the family some time to make their own decisions about how to go public with this before we spoke on it out of respect," the gym added.

"While we ourselves are grieving and it’s difficult to even type this out, we felt it appropriate to take a moment to say a few things.

The gym described Lubenga as not "just any student" and "the kind of human who brought life and light into any room he walked into".

"Christian was our family," they said.

"We shared laughs, stories, blood, sweat, tears. He’s the kind of person I aspire to be like and I wish more people were like him. Polite, professional, humble, always kind to everyone no matter what.

"We spent hundreds of thousands of hours together doing the things we were passionate about. Christian was a true martial artist in every aspect of the word and a true warrior. We love you Christian. We all love you," the passionate post finished.

On its website, New England Mixed Martial Arts stated that "the ending of the fight didn’t seem very violent" and that "there is no word on what caused Lubenga’s death" at present.

"But regardless of what was the attributing factor in his passing, it’s a tragedy for his family, friends, coaches, teammates, and our MMA community as a whole," the organization added.

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Of Congolese descent, Lubenga dreamed of one day becoming the fourth UFC champion from Africa after heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and his middleweight and welterweight counterparts Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman.

In addition to practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, Boxing, and Capoeira at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, Lubenga had a Master's degree in Computer Sytems Analysis.

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