Report: South Dakota Amateur Fighter Dies One Week After Competing at MMA Event


South Dakota-based mixed martial artist Dustin Jenson is dead at the age of 26.

Jenson passed away one week after competing on May 18 at Ring Wars 74 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, S.D., according to a report from the Rapid City Journal.

Jenson competed on the card against a fighter named Hayden Hensrud, tapping out to a triangle choke in the second round. Though the fighter engaged in an extended struggle to escape the hold, he could not free himself and was forced to submit. Jenson, who appeared to sustain no hard blows to the head during the bout, did not lose consciousness and stood up almost immediately after the fight was called.

Jenson’s mother-in-law, Violet Schieman, told the Rapid City Journal that Jenson then watched the next two fights on the card before heading back to the locker room, where he reportedly suffered a seizure. Another fighter apparently discovered Jenson’s condition and called for emergency medical attention, at which point Jenson was taken to Rapid City Regional Hospital, where personnel determined that the fighter suffered from increased pressure on his brain.

Jenson was then reportedly placed into a medically-induced coma and underwent surgery to relieve the pressure. According to the Rapid City Journal, Jenson never awoke from the surgery and was declared dead on May 24. The fighter was competing in just his fifth amateur bout since beginning his MMA career less than one year ago, though none of those bouts have been officially recorded online.

Sherdog.com contacted Jessica West, an amateur fighter based out of Wyoming who was present at Ring Wars 74, to gather more details about the event. West says she has taken photographs and video for Ring Wars for roughly 13 months and made her amateur debut this March at Ring Wars 72.

West says she knew Jenson as a fellow fighter and was present at four of Jenson’s Ring Wars appearances, visiting with him in the locker room and chatting with her colleague over Facebook regarding his upcoming fights.

“He was always upbeat and prepared for his fights. He was a very ambitious young man,” West told Sherdog on Friday. “When you are involved in this sport, we all come together with one interest and become one giant family. We [pool our] talent and skills to make ourselves better, and we encourage each other to do our best and meet the goals that we set for ourselves.”

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