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Dayton Sports Tragedy

Discussion in 'Open Discussion (Work-safe)' started by HabaneroBuck, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. HabaneroBuck

    HabaneroBuck Non-Nike Design

    Really sad for the family....

    'Toughman' collapses, dies after final bout

    By Cathy Mong and Kyle Nagel

    Dayton Daily News

    TROTWOOD | A 27-year-old contestant in the Miller Lite Original Toughman Contest died in a hospital Sunday, hours after having fought three bouts Saturday night in the heavyweight division at Hara Arena.

    Steve Burress of Martins Ferry "probably would not have died" had he not fought that third bout,

    Montgomery County Coroner James Davis said.

    Burress, a father of two, died about 5 p.m. at Good Samaritan Hospital after suffering extensive bleeding in his brain resulting from repeated blows to the head, Davis said.

    "Steve's injury was possibly set up by the first two bouts," Davis said.

    Toughman promoters declined comment Monday. Art Dore, the Toughman founder who was ring announcer Friday and Saturday night, did not return a phone message.

    Bernie Profato, executive director of the Ohio Athletic Commission, which regulated the competition, said Burress was given physicals Friday and Saturday and "passed with flying colors."

    Burress appeared to have recovered after his third fight, against 24-year-old Josh Snow of Cincinnati, was stopped by referee Ken Milner in the second of three 60-second rounds.

    Burress was knocked down once and given a standing count of eight, which is required before a fighter is allowed to resume boxing.

    "(Milner) asked him if he was OK, and he said, 'yeah,' then he rushed across the ring at (Snow) again," Profato said.

    Profato said there was "another little flurry for a few seconds and (Burress) went down ? this time when he got up, the referee counted to eight and looked at him and said, 'Are you OK?' and he didn't answer right away."

    Milner ended the bout and assisted Burress to the corner, where the fighter sat on a stool.

    According to what a doctor in the ring told Profato, Burress sat there a few moments before rolling off onto the mat.

    He seemed to be well enough to visit extensively with two friends before he collapsed and was taken to the hospital, where a craniotomy was performed in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

    Davis said the damage Burress sustained resulted after his head was struck, causing the brain "to recoil so fast it shreds those veins" causing bleeding.

    Toughman is a two-day event that features fights involving amateurs who wear 16-ounce gloves and head and lower-body protection.

    Profato said the OAC has "probably the most stringent regulations in the country. We believe we've done everything for the safety and well-being of the participants."

    In a July 15 report, the Ohio inspector general found that the OAC had allowed multiple ineligible fighters — including those with professional boxing wins and more than the allowed number of amateur wins — to compete in "tough person" contests. Toughman is a registered trademark of AdoreAble Promotions of Bay City, Mich.

    The report concluded: "The inconsistent oversight by the OAC staff and its agents created an environment ripe for contestant injuries."

    Profato, who accepted executive directorship Sept. 7 and said he has beefed up regulations, spoke to Inspector General Thomas P. Charles on Monday and said Charles was "satisfied we've done everything we can do as a commission" to protect the fighters.

    As of September, at least 13 people had died in Toughman competitions nationally since 1979, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

    That number includes Stacy Young, 30, a mother of two who died after competing in June 2003 in Sarasota County.

    In May, the Florida Legislature passed the Stacy Young Act, which requires that amateur fights be sanctioned.

    Snow, who learned of Burress' death Monday afternoon, said Saturday's contest "was my first but it's definitely my last, now."

    Snow, a pipefitter whose ring name is "the Blizzard," is 6-foot-2 and 274 pounds.

    He described Burress' physical condition as "phenomenal."

    "To be honest, I'm fat and saggy," Snow said. "I'm just a big boy with a big belly. This guy looked like he was in the gym seven days a week. . . . He was intimidating as hell."

    Snow described Burress as 6-foot-1 and about 240 pounds. He said he and Burress chatted briefly as they were led through the tunnel toward the ring before their fight.

    "We were both tired. He'd only gotten to rest about half an hour. I said, 'it's you and me,' and he said 'good luck.'

    "He did say he was winded, said he was 'gassed,' but we were both winded."

    Snow said his right arm was so tired and sore he punched mostly with his left: "I didn't feel I hurt him."

    Burress' sister, Patricia Ray of Martins Ferry, said he was "the best brother and best dad in the world."

    She said her brother decided to participate in the contest to win the $1,000 prize for his children, Tyler, 8, and Taylor, 5.

    "Sports and his kids, his whole family, was his life," Ray said.

    She said Burress had returned to Ohio University's Eastern Campus in St. Clairsville in Belmont County, to work on a degree in physical therapy after studying sports medicine.

    "He told us not to go," she said. "He went with his best friends. He said, 'You don't need to see this. You'll get to see me afterward with the trophy.' "

    Snow said he is saddened by what has happened.

    "Sure, I won $1,000," he said, pausing. "A thousand dollars for a life."
  2. BrutusMaximus

    BrutusMaximus I Heart Boobs

    I dont keep up on the toughman stuff, and i dont know if it's the same Martins Ferry, but there is a martins ferry about 5 minutes from where I live :)

    oh and.......that sucks.
  3. Saw31

    Saw31 High Seas Rogue

    This is one of those issues that I waffle on. I know it was his choice to do this and I like to see a good fight as much as anyone, but on the other hand, these are basically people off the streets who don't have the hardcore training that a professional would have. Very sad for his children.

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