SPORTS

MMA Fighter João Carvalho Dies Days After Dublin Cage Match

Match "could have been stopped a little earlier," UFC star Conor McGregor said.

Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho died Monday from injuries sustained from a welterweight cage match two days earlier, the Guardian reported.

Carvalho became ill 20 minutes after his technical knockout defeat to Charlie Ward in a Dublin, Ireland, bout organized by Total Extreme Fighting on Saturday. He was taken to a hospital where he underwent immediate brain surgery, the Guardian wrote. He remained in critical condition for 48 hours before he passed away. He was 28.

Ward was hitting Carvalho on the ground when the referee stopped the fight in the third round.

Carvalho, bleeding profusely from his nose, told the ringside physician after the stoppage that he was not in pain but felt tired, an official explained to outlets.

Conor McGregor, the UFC featherweight champion and teammate of Ward who watched the fight, told MMA Connect TV that the match "could have been stopped a little earlier."

"The referees need to be on the ball a little bit," he said.

Ward's head coach, John Kavanagh, released the following statement on Facebook, sharing that his thoughts and condolences were with Carvalho's family.

It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the passing of Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho. On Saturday, April 9, the fighter...

Posted by Coach John Kavanagh on Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Total Extreme Fighting CEO Cesar Silva echoed these sentiments in a statement, per the Irish Times: "We will give whatever support we can to Joao’s family. We have been in contact with his family and they have requested that we all understand their need for privacy at this difficult time.”

Michael Ring, Ireland's Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, told the Irish Times a full investigation would be launched into the fighter's death.

Here is the last minute of the fight:

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