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Mixed martial arts fighter dies after debut match

TBO.com The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 06:30 AM

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COLUMBIA, S.C. -

A mixed martial arts fighter has died from brain injuries in his professional debut.

The Aiken County coroner said Monday that 30-year-old Michael Kirkham died from bleeding inside the brain. Coroner Tim Carlton said Kirkham collapsed following Saturday night's fight at the USC Aiken Convocation Center.

He added that Kirkham was taken to Aiken Regional Medical Center and never regained consciousness. Carlton said an autopsy will be done Tuesday.

Kirkham was from South Carolina and nicknamed "Tree" because he is 6-foot-9. He had fought six times as an amateur before turning pro.

South Carolina law had prevented organized MMA-style competition until last summer.

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