SINGAPORE - Steven Lim, the man who fought bodybuilder Pradip Subramanian in the ill-fated muay thai celebrity match that led to the latter's death, has revealed that he was asked to pull out of the fight due to an alleged lack of insurance coverage.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday (Sept 27), Lim wrote: "Sly (original opponent Sylvester Sim) is v afraid to fight (in) a ring with me without any insurance becos of his family. He wants me to back out with him...
"Sly wanted to quit but I can't be a quitter or I will truely let my fans down!"
Pradip was a last-minute replacement for singer Sim, his participation confirmed a day before the Asia Fighting Championship bout at Marina Bay Sands last Saturday.
Sim had pulled out from the fight citing "insurance issues".
Pradip had looked shaken after the match and had to be helped out of the ring. He was rushed to Singapore General Hospital where he died.
His death was due to cardiac arrest respiratory failure, according to a preliminary medical report.
Lim also asserted on Facebook that the celebrity fight was "totally real... same as the rest of the fighters bouts", posting photos of his face and lip wounds.
The YouTube personality added that he has been having a headache that has not gone away since the fight, after "I suffered multiple punches on my head especially from the first round".
The lack of headgear worn by both combatants was among the criticisms levelled at the fight's organisers, with One Championship chairman and chief executive Chatri Sityodtong calling it "a serious breach (of safety protocols)".
Lim, however, dismissed the notion he and Pradip were fight novices.
"Some so called martial experts claimed we dunno how to block. This must be a joke," he wrote.
"If I dunno the basics of dodging n pary a punch, u think I dare to go up the ring n fight? U dun need to block much if u can dodge punches for goodness sake."
The 41-year-old had become something of a scapegoat after the fight, with some media outlets even carrying headlines imputing that Lim "killed" his opponent.
But sentiment among netizens appears to have improved, with most who commented on Lim's post of the opinion he was not to blame for Pradip's death.
One user named Angie Hendricks said: "I'm not gonna side Steven Lim. But, I think this have to be fair to him.
"He didn't initiate fight with pradip, he didn't ask pradip to fight with him aft sly back out. The one who asked pradip to fight... was the Organizer."
Both Sim and Pradip's family could not be reached for comment. Lim also declined further comment.