AN MMA fighter has died after being punched in the head during a championship kickboxing bout.
Authorities have launched a probe into the organisers of the contest after kickboxer Nikhil Suresh, 23, died on Wednesday.
Horror footage shows the sportsman collapse to the ground after being punched in the face by his opponent last Sunday.
The referee then declares the end of the fight as Nikhil lays their motionless.
Panicked onlookers rushed to help Nikhil and he was rushed to hospital, where he died four days later from his injuries.
Nikhil – who started kickboxing two years ago – was taking part in a state-level K-1 kickboxing championship organised by K-1 Kickboxing Association of Karnataka.
His devastated dad lodged a complaint with police over his son’s death, accusing the organisers of negligence.
Cops visited the venue, the Rapid Fitness Gym in Jnanabharati, on Friday, reports Times of India.
A police source told the outlet: “The spot inspection will play a vital role in proving or disproving negligence charges involving the organisers, as claimed by Nikhil’s father”.
Cops say event organiser Naveen Ravishankar is still missing.
Nikhil’s grief-stricken coach Vikram Nagaraj described the young sports star as a “beautiful soul” in an emotional tribute.
He said: “With profound sadness, I shoulder the burden of breaking the terrible news that we all dreaded.
“My boy Nikhil decided to hang his gloves today.
“His beautiful soul left us behind after a hard-fought battle in the early hours of today in spite of the best medical attention.
“He will be etched eternally on our hearts and memories. I am shattered beyond words by my loss.
“Today I have lost a son. We pray almighty to give us all enough strength to bear the unbearable. My deepest condolences.”
Nikhil, who was tipped as the next big thing in MMA in India, who has recently participated in the 6th Open MMA Championship in Karnataka after featuring in the 5th MMA India Nationals in Madhya Pradesh.
It comes after another MMA fighter, 22-year-old Lucas Gabriel Peres, died after suffering a head injury during a contest in Brazil.
Meanwhile, talented Jiu-Jitsu fighter Mateus Fernandes, 22, died after being knocked out at an MMA event, also in Brazil, as he suffered four heart attacks.
In a further tragedy, a kickboxer who died after being knocked out by a “much bigger” competitor was “mismatched” by organisers of the bout, her family claim.
Saeideh Aletaha, 26, died after she took a blow to the head during the third round of her fight with opponent Janie Morgan in Southampton, Hants, in 2019.