Amateur MMA fighter dies from brain injury after Southampton bout

Georgia Goulding
Saeideh ‘Sai’ Aletaha was competing in a Fast and Furious Series (FFS)
Saeideh Aletaha in a Fast and Furious Series (Credit: Facebook)

An amateur Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter has died from a brain injury after collapsing in the ring on Saturday.

Saeideh ‘Sai’ Aletaha was competing in a Fast and Furious Series (FFS) fight in Central Hall, Southampton, where she collapsed and was rushed to hospital just before 9pm. A ringside medical crew carried out their duties “with the utmost professionalism” but Aletaha was pronounced dead in the early hours of Sunday morning.

FFS released a statement confirming the tragic events. They commented that the likelihood of critical injury in the ring is “not expected to happen 99.9% of the time” however assured fans that “safety is not something ever skimped on”.

“Thoughts of course go out to all family, friends and team mates, if anyone needs any support please come to us or your coaches.”

Aletaha is not the first MMA fighter to die as a result of injuries sustained during competition, with eight fatalities reported since 1993.

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Aletaha, a 26-year-old who studied Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough University became a product design engineer for Hampshire company Stannah Stairlifts. She also had a spell fighting with British Kyokushinkai Karate (BKK), a respected British karate organisation.

The British-Iranian was a lightweight fighter, whose friends and teammates described her as a “lovely character with a beautiful soul”.

Aletaha was regarded as always giving “110%” to her sport, as she would travel miles each day to train at Exhile Gym.

The gym posted their own statement following the devastating news, “Following the show Saturday we regret to announce that one of our team mates unfortunately suffered an injury leaving her in a critical condition that she tragically will not recover from.

“She [Aletaha] found her place with us just a few months ago but has become apart of the family and will be sorely missed.”

Hampshire Police are investigating further into what exactly happened during the fight.

“This news comes as a devastating blow to us all at the gym and the whole community,” said a spokesperson for Exhile Gym. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”

In September, Bellator MMA competitor and veteran Katy Collins also tragically died due to complications following a brain aneurysm.

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