Singapore: Bodybuilding champion who collapsed after Muay Thai fight died of natural cause

Pradip Subramaniam, died at the age of 32, because of two underlying heart conditions, revealed state coroner

State coroner released the findings on the death of an Indian-origin bodybuilding champion, who passed away after a Muay Thai match against YouTuber Steven Lim in Singapore. After the completion of the investigation, the coroner said on Tuesday, February 25 that the 32-year-old Pradip Subramaniam died of a natural cause.

Singapore coroner clarified that the former World Bodybuilding & Physique Sports Federation Singapore president, Subramaniam died due to two underlying heart conditions after he had taken on Lim, who was then 41-year-old, in a celebrity fight at Marina Bay Sands on September 23, 2017. It should be mentioned that Subramanian replaced the original contender, singer Sylvester Sim, at the last moment due to insurance issues.

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The investigation on Pradip Subramaniam's death

As per the forensic pathologist, Subramaniam's abnormally enlarged heart with a genetic abnormality in heart cell proteins was the reason for his demise, said the state coroner Kamala Ponnampalam on Tuesday.

She said that as per postmortem report Subramaniam had an enlarged and heavy heart. As reported by the Channel NewsAsia, the pathologist claimed that these two health conditions may have caused acute abnormal heart rhythms, resulting in sudden cardiac death.

The matchday

Pradip Subramaniam
Pradip Subramaniam Facebook/ Steven Lim

On the day of the celebrity fight in Singapore, the medical experts stated that the pre-match medical checkup was adequate. When the on-site doctor diagnosed Subramaniam, he was announced fit for the fight. The deceased also made a declaration that he was free from any adverse medical condition.

The court documents stated that the bout started at 8.12 pm, with the first round commencing uneventfully. Then, at around 8.15 pm the second round started and Lim punched on Subramaniam's face three times in a row which caused the later to get off balance. The video footage of the fight showed that Subramaniam had been slow in dodging the punches thrown at him. After this, he remained in the corner of the ring and did not respond to three attempts by the referee to get him to move forward and then the match was suspended.

At around 8.18 pm both the fighters were invited to the stage to declare the winner. When Lim gave a two-minute victory speech, Subramaniam returned to his corner of the ring. Later, when Subramaniam received his medal, he fell down and immediately on-site medical professionals rushed to him. Soon after that he was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead at 9.51 pm.

Introduction of new safety measures

Bodybuilding champion Subramaniam's death after the Muay Thai match has brought into limelight safety concerns in combat sports. The Combat Sport Community members at Singapore have emphasised greatly on the safety of participants in fight events.

Earlier, Singapore Silat Federation CEO Sheik Alauddin stated that professional fights require complete medical check-ups, including brain scans and hydration tests. The final check-up, performed hours before the match, is very crucial. He added that for full-force fighting, one needs at least five years of training.

"I think for a match like this, it would be good to have ample preparations physically and psychologically. Just having a day's notice might have been ill-advised in this aspect," said Damien Lee, deputy manager of Nanyang Polytechnic's Sport and Wellness diploma.

Two representatives from SportsSG recommended that people who are taking part in sporting events involving high cardiovascular risk should undergo annual screening, which includes the resting ECG. The coroner said, "They also warned that being fit in one sport does not necessarily mean that the individual is fit for another sport. There must be self-awareness of one's fitness level and medical conditions" and added that "In the circumstances, I find Mr Pradip's death to be from a natural cause."