Justin Thornton Passes Away From Injuries Sustained at BKFC 20 in August, Dillon Cleckler

Justin Thornton lays on the canvas after being knocked out by Dillon Cleckler - Photo by Phil Lambert for Bare Knuckle FC

Justin Thornton Passes Away From Injuries Sustained at BKFC 20 in August

Justin Thornton has passed away from injuries sustained at BKFC 20. Thornton, who was 38, fought Dillon Cleckler in August. After he was knocked out, Thornton stayed on the canvas motionless for some time and was rushed off by EMS.

The report was first made by Island Fights’ Chris James and confirmed by Eric Kowal.

Justin Thornton compiled a 6-18 MMA record and fought Lex McMahon, Austen Lane, Quentin Henry, Chase Sherman and Walt Harris. His BKFC debut was a rematch against Clecker.

The Passing of Justin Thornton

Thornton passed after being knocked out by Cleckler in 20 seconds. He fell to the canvas face first and the view was grim. The referee could he heard on broadcast telling Cleckler that “he’s hurt bad.” Thornton was on the floor for seven minutes before the EMS personnel took him off. BKFC 20 took place on August 20th and Thornton passed away today.

Now, many are questioning BKFC’s matchmaking and rule sets. Cleckler has an 11-1 MMA record and was 2-0 in bare knuckle boxing. Thornton had an 6-18 record as previously mentioned and was finished in the first round in his last five fights. Many people are wondering who should be held responsible for green lighting the fight.

Others have questioned the safety of bare knuckle boxing in it’s own right saying exposed knuckles and wrapped hands were a disaster waiting to happen. Studies, however, have shown that bare knuckle boxing has a lower concussion rate than boxing and MMA.

While who is responsible remains to be seen, a death like this always a tragedy. We hear all too often that anytime a fighter steps into the ring, cage, or mat, they’re putting their lives on the line. It’s all too harrowing when it actually comes to fruition. The thoughts and prayers of MyMMANews go out to Justin Thornton and his family at this time.

author avatar
Blaine Henry
Your friendly neighborhood fight fan. I watch way too many fights and my wife lets me know it.