Safety protocols questioned following shock death in celebrity muay thai match

How was he allowed to fight at short notice? Did he have sufficient training? Were there any breaches of safety protocols?

These are some questions being raised following the death of bodybuilder Pradip Subramanian on Saturday (Sept 23) after a “celebrity fight” at the inaugural Asia Fighting Championship (AFC) match at Marina Bay Sands.

Pradip, 32, died of cardiac arrest respiratory failure later that evening at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), just a few hours after a Muay Thai fight with YouTube personality Steven Lim, reported the Straits Times.

He was the president of the World Bodybuilding & Physique Sports Federation (WBPF) Singapore.

Although not originally slated to fight, Pradip was announced as a late replacement for Singapore Idol finalist and singer Sylvester Sim after the singer withdrew from the fight due to insurance issues.

Police are investigating the unnatural death.

One Championship chairman and chief executive Chatri Sityodtong told ST: In my opinion, there was a serious breach (of safety protocols). How could you put two untrained civilians with no background in martial arts and have them compete in a professional bout with no protective gear?

“They wanted entertainment at the expense of a human life. It’s ludicrous, if you compare it to the standards and best practices of global sports properties. It’s just so tragic and easily could’ve been avoided.”

The fight had been scaled down to two rounds of two minutes each, from the World Muaythai Council (WMC) standard of five rounds of three minutes each.

AFC founder and chief executive Sasidharan Unnithan, who was a long-time friend of Pradip and former colleague at gym chain California Fitness, said the event followed standards and safety protocols set by the WMC.

He said that Pradip had a health check before the fight, and that a medical team and an ambulance was on standby during the event.

Singapore mixed martial arts fighter May Ooi called for tighter regulation on local combat sports.

She told The Straits Times: “A one-day notice to take up a fight for someone who was not a muay thai fighter, it makes no sense.

“It puts that person under a lot of unnecessary risks. Two men throwing punches at each other is no joke, no matter how the fight was marketed as.”

WBPF vice-president Andrew Johnson, 47, said that Pradip was trained in kick-boxing, muay thai and Brazilian jiu-jitu.

Netizens too, expressed their shock that the fight resulted in Pradip’s death. Here’s what some of them said: