MMA fighter Michael Kirkham dies following pro debut

Michael "Tree" Kirkham R.I.P.

From WRDW.com, a CBS affiliate in Augusta, Ga.:

Michael Kirkham, 30 years old, from Gaston, SC died this morning as a result of a head injury during his MMA event at USC Aiken Saturday. He was pronounced dead this morning at Aiken Regional Medical Center.

Kirkham was transported to Aiken Regional Medical Center after he was struck several times in the head. He was unresponsive when transported and never regained consciousness. He died of a brain hemorrhage.

This was Kirkham’s first professional match. He had fought in MMA events 6 times previously as an amateur.

Kirkham was competing at “Confrontation at the Convocation” event at the USC Aiken Convocation Center, a card regulated by the South Carolina Athletic Commission.

Kirkham was nicknamed “Tree” because of his unusual build. His Facebook bio says he was “the only 6ft. 9in. 155 lbs. lightweight fighter in the world.”

Prior to this bout, which was Kirkham’s pro debut, he held a 3-3 amateur record. MixedMartialArts.com has a partial listing of his amateur record:

  • 04/24/2010 Loss, D’Juan Owens, Rage in the Cage, TKO/RSC, Rd 1, 1:18
  • 05/23/2009 Loss, Calvin Harness, Cage Aggression: Night of Champions, Submission, Rd 1, 2:19
  • 03/28/2009 Win, Timothy Cedillo, Jr., Taking Lofollette By Storm, Submission Guillotine Choke, Rd 1, 0:11
  • 05/10/2008 Loss, Brian Grimes, Valhalla 6, TKO/RSC, Referee Stoppage, Rd 1, 1:18

Kirkham’s Facebook bio reads as follows:

Im a mixed martial artist with a 3-3 ammy record and im going pro i am the only 6ft9in 155lbs lightweight fighter in the world i trained in tae kwon do for 3 1/2 years and submission wrestling for 3 1/2 years i also study gracie bjj,small circle ju jitsu and anything that has to do with selfdefense i want to be trained in jeet kune do aikido and ishenru. Bruce lee wally jay and don frye are my biggest influences i also train and run my own mma team fayetteville independents you can see more about us at www.fayettevilleindependents.synthasite.com or www.myspace.com/fayettevilleindependents. i also play guitar ive been playing since i was 8 randy roads is the fucking guitar god

His favorite quotations:

My favorite one “true strength lies in the mind not the body” sifu bruce lee my second is “out of 100 men 80 are fighters 15 are soldiers 4 are warriors and only one is a master” sifu wally jay

The following video is Kirkham’s amateur fight against D’Juan Owens in April 2010:

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