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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 30 November 2021

Brother of MMA fighter Joao Carvalho suing promoters and medical staff behind event

Carvalho died two days after losing consciousness in the aftermath of a bout at the National Stadium in Dublin in April 2016.

10 Joao Carvalho Source: Nóbrega team

THE BROTHER OF Portuguese mixed martial artist Joao Carvalho has taken a High Court action against numerous entities concerned with the event in which his brother died.

28-year-old Carvalho died in the aftermath of his bout with the Irish fighter Charlie Ward at the National Stadium in Dublin in April 2016.

The suit has been taken by his brother Alexandre da Cunha Silvestre. It was first lodged on Wednesday of this week.

The defendants are:

  • The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA – the owners of the National Stadium)
  • Cesar Silva, the then CEO of Total Extreme Fighting (TEF), the promoters of the event
  • Celtic Gladiator Limited, a Polish-owned MMA promotions company
  • Kate Michilic, owner of EventMed, the company which provided medical cover for the event
  • The Irish Red Cross
  • Three doctors who were on duty at the event – Ismail Khan, Omar Alshaqaqi, and Nikita Svirkov Vainberg

Carvalho sustained 41 blows to the head in the Total Extreme Fighting contest on 9 April 2016. The bout was stopped by the referee after three rounds.

Roughly 10 minutes after the fight ended, Carvalho lost consciousness. He was transferred from the stadium to an ambulance and travelled onward to the Mater Hospital.


The father-of-two died two days later in Beaumont Hospital, from where he had been moved from the Mater.

An inquest into his death, held in February of this year, ruled it a result of misadventure.

A neurosurgeon, Professor Daniel Healy, who gave evidence to the inquest said he was told that, due to a limited budget for the event, the safety standards required “were not possible”.

TheJournal.ie sought comment from the IABA, Celtic Gladiator, EventMed, and the Irish Red Cross in relation to the case.

An IABA statement said:

“The management of the National Boxing Stadium were deeply saddened by the passing of Joao Carvalho who took part in a mixed martial arts event staged by TEF MMA/Celtic Gladiator Limited in the stadium last year. Our thoughts and condolences remain with his family and friends on their tragic loss.

The IABA is not in a position to comment any further in this matter at this point.

No response had been received at the time of publication from all of the others but the Red Cross, which stated it “has no comment to make at this time”.

A spokesman for Silvestre’s solicitors, Tom O’Regan and Co, of Salthill, Galway, declined to comment on the case in any detail, but said that the “matter is extremely upsetting for” Carvalho’s family.

Independent MMA events became much more of a rarity in Ireland in the aftermath of Carvalho’s death due to the requirement for increased safety measures and insurance cover.

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