Canadian Tim Hague wasn’t necessarily a boxer, nor a mixed martial artist. He was a fighter. A fighter when he did MMA, a fighter when he then moved to professional boxing. He was, for better or worse, a fighter until the bitter end.

Hague, 34, died on Sunday, two days after he was badly knocked out in a boxing match in Edmonton, Canada.

“It is with incredible sadness, sorrow and heartbreak to report that Tim has passed away today,” Hague’s sister posted to Facebook. “He was surrounded by family, listening to his favorite songs. We will miss him with [us] so greatly. We ask for privacy during this difficult time.”

Hague fell victim to a left hook thrown in the second round by Adam Braidwood, a former football player, and never woke up. He’d been knocked down multiple times earlier in the fight and seemed unsteady on his feet throughout, but it wasn’t until the final shot landed and Hague was in no position to rise, much less fight, that the fight was stopped.

Seemingly a mismatch on paper, in light of the fact Braidwood boasted a record of 7-1 (with six knockouts) and Hague was just 2-1, the fight itself did little to remove this feeling.

Worst of all, Hague’s history, both as a boxer and, crucially, as a mixed martial artist, will now raise serious questions. The loss to Braidwood was his third in a row; back in December, he was knocked out in round one by an unbeaten prospect. Before all that, before his boxing career recommenced in 2016, Hague, known as ‘The Thrashing Machine’, had been knocked out in four of his final five MMA bouts, two in Russia, two in Canada.

As a mixed martial artist, Hague will be remembered for his UFC run between 2009 and 2011 and a first-round submission of Pat Barry in his UFC debut. His record stands at 21-13, with 15 knockouts and four submissions.

In the next issue of Fighters Only magazine we take a look at the safety of MMA and boxing and analyse what is now being done to ensure fighters have the best chance of survival when the worst case scenario becomes a reality. Alas, the tragic story of Tim Hague is unfortunately a reminder that our enjoyment of combat sports should never overshadow the very real dangers that face competitors each and every time they set foot in a ring of cage.