Professional boxer Adam Braidwood said he does not think anything could have been done differently in his match with Tim Hague, which ultimately led to the death of the mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter.
Braidwood said he was initially hesitant to take on Hague in the fight in Edmonton on June 16.
As the pair fought at the Shaw Conference Centre, Braidwood said Hague kept getting back up after each blow.
“I realized he came to fight and he had the will to win. He kept fighting until the very end,” he said.
But Braidwood said he could see something was wrong after the final knockout.
“The way he fell – he hit the canvas so hard – that I knew something was wrong. I could see in his eyes that something was very wrong.”
“I think the referee did a good job making sure Tim was conscious and lucid and ready to continue fighting. It would have been different if he was wobbly or if he was slurring his words or if he wasn’t there,” Braidwood said. “I watched the video a million times and every time the referee asked him, he was like, ‘Nope I’m ready to go, I’m ready to fight.’”
Braidwood said he thinks Hague wanted to keep fighting no matter what.
“If the fight had been stopped, he would have called for a rematch. Maybe it would have happened in training. Maybe it would have happened in another arena. It’s just one of those things that I think couldn’t have been avoided,” he said.
Braidwood is unsure what changes may come about as a result of the investigation.
“Boxing has been around for 100 years. The commissions know what’s needed in order to commission a fight. I think people will be more cautious but I think the rules in place are fine. I just think people will be less likely to bend those rules,” he said.
Braidwood disagrees with calls for Alberta to have a provincial commission – each municipality currently runs its own commission – and does not think a provincial body overseeing combative sports would have saved Hague’s life.
“He was having a difficult time in a lot of his fights. I think that unless you had a global commission, which I think is completely unrealistic, Tim was going to fight somewhere else,” he said.
Braidwood calls Hague “a warrior” with a good heart and said his legacy will continue.
“He would do anything for you. He would give you the shirt off his back. I think he’s a beautiful human being,” he said.