SINGAPORE: A bodybuilding champion who died after a celebrity Muay Thai match against YouTuber Steven Lim in 2017 died of a natural cause, the state coroner ruled in findings released on Tuesday (Feb 25).
Mr Pradip Subramaniam, the former World Bodybuilding & Physique Sports Federation Singapore president, died aged 32 because of two underlying heart conditions.
Mr Pradip had taken on Mr Lim, then 41, in a headline celebrity fight at Marina Bay Sands on Sep 23, 2017.
State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam noted that the forensic pathologist had certified Mr Pradip's cause of death as an abnormally enlarged heart with genetic abnormality in heart cell proteins, which is "a natural disease process".
Autopsy evidence showed that Mr Pradip had an enlarged and heavy heart, and the pathologist opined that the two conditions may have predisposed Mr Pradip to acute abnormal heart rhythms, resulting in sudden cardiac death.
Two medical experts stated that the pre-match medical screening was adequate, and that the on-site doctor would not have been able to detect Mr Pradip's medical condition, as it would have required an electrocardiogram (ECG) to be conducted.
Mr Pradip had undergone a medical screening process by an on-site doctor on the day of the fight, and was certified fit for the bout.
Mr Pradip also made a declaration that he was free from any adverse medical condition.
The fight began at 8.12pm, with the first round commencing uneventfully, said court documents.
They started their second round at 8.15pm, with Mr Lim striking Mr Pradip's face three times in a row before shoving Mr Pradip off his balance.
Video footage showed that Mr Pradip had been slow in dodging the punches thrown at him, the coroner said.
After this, Mr Pradip remained in the corner of the ring and did not respond to attempts by the referee to get him to move forward.
After three failed attempts to get Mr Pradip to move forward, the referee called off the match.
Both fighters were invited to the stage at 8.18pm to declare the winner, and Mr Pradip stood to the left of the referee before returning to the corner of the ring and resting his arms on the ropes while Mr Lim gave a two-minute victory speech.
After Mr Pradip received a medal, he slumped down against the padded corner column of the ring and was attended to by medical professionals.
He was taken to hospital and pronounced dead at 9.51pm.
RECOMMENDATIONS BY SPORTSSG REPRESENTATIVES
During the inquiry, two representatives from SportsSG recommended that those taking part in sporting events involving high cardiovascular risk should undergo annual screening, which includes the resting ECG.
This can be arranged either by the event organiser, or by the participant himsmelf. They emphasised that adequate and appropriate training with a gradual build-up in volume and intensity is essential for minimising the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
"They also warned that being fit in one sport does not necessarily mean that the individual is fit for another sport," said the coroner. "There must be self-awareness of one's fitness level and medical conditions."
"In the circumstances, I find Mr Pradip's death to be from a natural cause," she said.
She extended her condolences to Mr Pradip's family for their sad loss.