ONE Championship CEO on AFC death: "They wanted entertainment at expense of a human life"

[Get the latest updates about Pradip Subramanian's death here]

Industry experts and more seasoned fight promoters in Singapore have weighed in on bodybuilder Pradip Subramanian's death at the Asia Fighting Championship (AFC) on Sep 23.

The 32-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest respiratory failure episode after his bout with online personality Steven Lim, 41, and was pronounced dead at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) the same night.

Subramanian's wake was held at Block 807, Woodlands Street 81 yesterday (Sep 24), which Stomp attended, and police are investigating the unnatural death.

The tragic incident has raised questions about how the Muay Thai event was run and if proper safety guidelines had been followed.

AFC founder and chief executive officer Sasidharan Unnithan, 38, said the event followed standards and safety protocols set by sanctioning body World Muaythai Council (WMC).

Unnithan is Subramanian's long-time friend and his former colleague at gym chain California Fitness, reported The Straits Times.

The former gym general manager also said a medical team certified the fighters fit, according to guidelines laid out by the WMC, and that Subramanian underwent a health check before the event.

Asked about how much training Subramanian had, given that he was brought in as a replacement for local singer Sylvester Sim a day before the event, Unnithan told ST that "they had both taught kickboxing classes while working together at California Fitness".

However, more experienced fight promoters have expressed reservations about how the AFC was run, with some even calling it a "highly irresponsible and reckless" event.

ONE Championship chairman and chief executive Chatri Sityodtong told ST: "In my opinion, there was a serious breach (of safety protocols).

"How could you put two untrained civilians with no background in martial arts and have them compete in a professional bout with no protective gear?

"They wanted entertainment at the expense of a human life. It's ludicrous, if you compare it to the standards and best practices of global sports properties. It's just so tragic and easily could've been avoided."

Questioning if sufficient medical screening and preparation had been conducted before both Subramanian and Lim were cleared to enter the ring, Sityodtong added: "Just because you're a bodybuilder and you have big muscles doesn't mean you can fight.

"It takes years of training to hone your technique. Untrained civilians don't know how to protect themselves - which is the first rule of martial arts."

Read the rest of the story and opinions of other industry experts on The Straits Times.