Conor McGregor was at the National Stadium in Dublin, Ireland on Saturday night to watch his team-mate Charlie Ward fight, and was left stunned when just a couple of days after the event Ward’s opponent Joao Carvalho passed away due to a brain injury.

McGregor posted his thoughts about the tragic event on his Facebook page yesterday, paying tribute to Carvalho and extending his heart-felt best wishes to his family and team, while also noting that having watched the fight live he just “can’t understand” how it ended up with a young fighter losing his life.

Read McGregor’s full statement below.

“Terrible news regarding Joao Carvalho.
To see a young man doing what he loves, competing for a chance at a better life, and then to have it taken away is truly heartbreaking.
We are just men and women doing something we love in the hope of a better life for ourselves and our families. Nobody involved in combat sports of any kind wants to see this. It is such a rare occurrence that I don’t know how to take this.
I was ringside supporting my teammate, and the fight was so back and forth, that I just can’t understand it.

“My condolences go out to Joao’s family and his team. Their man was a hell of a fighter and will be sorely missed by all.
Combat sport is a crazy game and with the recent incident in boxing and now this in MMA, it is a sad time to be a fighter and a fight fan.
It is easy for those on the outside to criticise our way of living, but for the millions of people around the world who have had their lives, their health, their fitness and their mental strength all changed for the better through combat, this is truly a bitter pill to swallow. We have lost one of us.

“I hope we remember Joao as a champion, who pursued his dream doing what he loved, and show him the eternal respect and admiration he deserves.

“Rest in peace, Joao.”

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Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.