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Natchez MMA fighter Justin Ray Thornton dies after complications from August bout

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Justin Thornton (From his Facebook page)

Natchez native and MMA fighter Justin Ray Thornton, 38, died on Monday after collapsing in the ring over a month ago in a Bare Knuckle Championship fight.

BKFC President Dave Feldman confirmed Ray’s death.

“This morning we were very saddened to be notified of the passing of one of our fighters, Justin Thornton, who competed at BKFC 20 on August 20, 2021,” Feldman said in a statement to MMA Fighting. “We join the rest of the combat sports community in sending our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Thornton was knocked out by Dillion Clecker on Aug. 20. Thorton was carried out of the ring by a stretcher after he fell face first into the canvas and knocked out.

According to Facebook, Ray was paralyzed as of Sep. 23 and being treated for a spinal cord injury.

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