EDMONTON, Alberta — Tim Hague, the former UFC fighter known as “The Thrashing Machine,” died Sunday, two days after he was critically injured when he was knocked out in a boxing match against former Edmonton Eskimos defensive end Adam Braidwood.
Hague’s sister, Jackie Neil, announced the death in a family statement.
“It is with incredible sadness, sorrow and heartbreak to report that Tim has passed away today,” the statement said. “He was surrounded by family, listening to his favorite songs. We will miss him with so greatly.”
The match Friday night at the Shaw Conference Centre was promoted by KO Boxing.
The 34-year-old Hague, who grew up on a farm in Boyle, Alberta, was a heavyweight trained in jiu-jitsu. He was 21-13 as an MMA fighter before switching to boxing last summer.
Hague made his UFC debut with a stunning upset over Pat Barry on the UFC 98 card in May 2009 at the MGM Grand Garden. He lost his next three fights in the organization and was subsequently released in 2010.
He got another shot in 2011, but was again released following a knockout loss to Matt Mitrione in 2011.
UFC officials declined comment on Hague’s death beyond a statement on condolence on the organization’s website.
“The UFC sends its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of former UFC heavyweight Tim Hague, who passed away on Sunday,” the statement read.
Hague had gone 1-4 as an MMA fighter over the last two years between Canada and Russia with all four defeats coming by knockout. He also suffered a boxing knockout loss in December.
An emotional Braidwood, who considered Hague a friend, spoke to CTV News in Canada on Monday.
“It’s not a good thing for anyone involved,” Braidwood said. “I knew, man. I knew in the ring. I just saw the way he fell.
“I waited on my knees for Tim to move after I did my stupid, little celebration. Like, I don’t care about that. People can say what they want. I waited on my knees. I watched him. I picked him up, because his team was struggling to pick him up. I carried him to the corner, and I could see in his face.”
Braidwood also fired back at critics of the commission, which allowed a 1-2 boxer in Hague to take on a 7-1 opponent despite the amount of knockouts he had suffered in the past two years, and the referee who allowed the fight to continue after the early knockdowns.
“What do they know? They don’t fight,” Braidwood said. “He wanted to keep fighting. Journalists, this, that, people who write stuff. They don’t know what they’re talking about. What kind of country-club lifestyle do they live, where they get to call the shots on what we do in there?
“Tim wanted to keep fighting, and that’s what we do. If people have delusions about this sport, about what life is really like for someone like me, who has nothing else, they can walk in my shoes. I would’ve done the same thing. And he would’ve done the same thing to me, trust me. It’s nobody’s fault.”
The Edmonton Combative Sports Commission, which regulates combat sports in the city, has ordered a third-party review to ensure any mistakes made in the regulatory process can be addressed and corrected.
Hague formerly taught kindergarten and had been teaching fourth-grade English in Canada. He is survived by his nine-year-old son, Brady.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Adam Hill contributed to this story.