Tragic celebrity muay thai fight: Pradip Subramanian died of cardiac arrest respiratory failure

Pradip Subramanian (left) fighting Steven Lim during the Asia Fighting Championship (AFC) match at Marina Bay Sands. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Veteran bodybuilder Pradip Subramanian, who was rushed to the hospital after a celebrity muay thai match on Saturday (Sept 23), died of cardiac arrest respiratory failure, according to a preliminary medical report

AFC Holding Singapore, which organised the match between Mr Pradip and YouTube personality Steven Lim, cited a report issued by the Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

"The final medical report will be released in 30 to 60 days," said AFC Holding Singapore in a statement issued on Sunday (Sept 24). "Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr Pradip Subramanian's family during this difficult time.."

Police said they are investigating the unnatural death.

Mr Pradip, 32, was rushed to SGH after the Asia Fighting Championship match at Marina Bay Sands on Saturday night. He had looked shaken after the match and had to be helped out of the ring. It was his first muay thai fight.

The veteran bodybuilder, who was president of the World Bodybuilding & Physique Sports Federation, was not originally slated to fight. He was announced as a late replacement on Friday after former Singapore Idol finalist and singer Sylvester Sim withdrew from the bout citing insurance problems.

It is understood that all fighters, including "celebrity fighters" Mr Lim and Mr Pradip, went through a medical check-up and signed a declaration form acknowledging the risks involved.

In a phone interview on Sunday, Mr Lim, 41, told The Straits Times he was "devastated" by what had happened. "I am very affected by the whole thing. I won the title but I feel so sad."

He described Mr Pradip as a "big friendly giant" with whom he has no animosity. He said the bodybuilder had even offered him help to put on his gloves before the fight.

"I really never knew that he would leave us."

He said that after the fight, Mr Pradip looked normal. "He looked like he was recovering, but in a daze, after a knockout."

When asked about the criticism he is receiving on social media so far, Mr Lim said he believes he has many supporters too.

"Most people understand that once you enter the ring, there is bound to be the risk of injuries. It's a normal thing, and it's a risk we are all prepared to take."

As for whether he was insured, Mr Lim said he was not sure. He didn't bother to find out.

"I told them that with or without insurance, I will fight. The stadium last night was packed with people.

"Imagine if I had been a no-show. I would've been letting down all my supporters who were there to watch me fight."

Mr Sasidharan Unnithan, 38, founder of the Asia Fighting Championship, said there were no safety lapses in the handling of the incident.

"It (attending to him) was immediate because the moment we stopped the fight, I put the medal on him and he collapsed into my hands, and medical attention was immediately given. There were no lapses in that area. The ambulance was there to take him straight to hospital."

SPH Brightcove Video
Friends and family at the wake of bodybuilder Pradip Subramanian expressed shock at his death, following a muay thai match on Sept 23.

He said that all the judges and referees were qualified, and Mr Pradip had done his health check prior to the fight.

"There was an indemnity form and he cleared that. He was feeling fine. Those were the risks we took. It was a celebrity match, so we shortened the rounds and those precautions were taken," he said.

Mr Sasidharan said Mr Pradip did have some fighting experience and was not a complete newbie. "As far as I know, he isn't completely new. I wouldn't say he has little experience, because he had a boxing background.

"I urge everyone to understand that as much as everyone is grieving, I'm also grieving as well. He was close to me."

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