A Fort McMurray, Alta., mixed martial artist is recovering in a Winnipeg hospital on Saturday after suffering a serious head injury in the ring on Friday night.
Dean Lewis was awake and alert Saturday morning despite being transported via ambulance to Health Sciences Centre following his three-round fight against Winnipeg’s Eric Perez on the inaugural Canadian Fighting Championship card.
"I was up to see him this morning. I saw him last night as well," said Dr. Ed Pilat, who works for the Manitoba Boxing Commission at local fight cards and treated Lewis in the ring. "He's doing well. He's comfortable."
Dr. Pilat said Lewis will spend at least a few days in hospital, "if not a little longer."
Lewis and Perez engaged in one of the bloodiest battles in recent Winnipeg fight history. Even though it was a mixed martial arts bout, the fighters stood for most of the scrap, trading blow after blow without putting up much defence.
Both fighters stumbled to their respective corners after the third five-minute round came to a conclusion, but Dr. Pilat, obviously sensing something was wrong, immediately rushed to Lewis’ corner.
Dr. Pilat, a pair of Winnipeg paramedics, who are required to be present at every Manitoba Boxing Commission event, and several other officials immediately started treating Lewis on the canvas.
After about 10 to 15 minutes of care inside the ring, Lewis was transported to Health Sciences Centre. Dr. Pilat said Lewis didn't require surgery.
The rumour that Lewis had to have an emergency tracheotomy at the Convention Centre, which spread like wildfire throughout the crowd of approximately 2,200 spectators, is not true, according to a Commission official.
Dr. Pilat said if it weren't for the quick medical attention from everyone involved, the outcome could have been significantly worse.
"These are the (injuries) that if you don't do anything you can have a disaster," he said.
Winnipeg Muay Thai kickboxer (Dangerous) Dave Zuniga lost a split decision in the main event to Ottawa's Mark Holst.