A one-time Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship fighter has passed away more than a month after a brutal knockout in his first BKFC bout, according to online mixed martial arts outlets. Justin Thornton was 38 years old. In an Aug. 20 heavyweight fight against Dillon Cleckler in Mississippi, Thornton was knocked out in just 19 seconds after a violent exchange in the center of the ring. He was hospitalized, with reports stating the fighter was partially paralyzed and fighting an infection related to a spinal cord injury.
Prior to his entry into the BKFC world, Thornton was a regular fixture in the MMA world, amassing a 6-18 record and fighting a number of UFC heroes like Chase Sherman and Walt Harris. “We are very sad to learn of the passing of one of our fighters, Justin Thornton,” the president of BKFC, David Feldman, said in a statement. “... We join the rest of the combat sports community in sending our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”