EDMONTON — Boxer Adam Braidwood fought back tears in a video statement where he offered condolences to the family of Tim Hague, who died after losing to the former CFL player in a heavyweight boxing match on Friday night.
Hague was hospitalized after the one-sided loss via second-round technical knockout. His death was announced Sunday by his sister Jackie Neil.
"I spoke to the Hague family in private and offered my condolences and I wanted to do the same now publicly," Braidwood said in the post on his Instagram account. "I want to thank everyone for their support, all the kind words, it makes a big difference. This is really hard."
Hague, whose nickname was The Thrashing Machine, taught Grade 4 English at Ecole Bellevue School.
"All the theatrics leading up to this (bout) — Tim and I were friends," Braidwood said. "We spoke beforehand, we just wanted to make a beautiful fight for everyone and that's what this was all about.
"It's one of those things that everybody saw me celebrating, but nobody saw me pick up Tim and carry him to the corner and tell him that I love him."
Hague (1-3 as a boxer, 21-13 in MMA), was a heavy underdog who accepted the fight on only two weeks notice. He was knocked down three times in the first round against Braidwood (8-1) and referee Len Koivisto stopped the bout after two more knockdowns in the second round.
The Edmonton Combative Sports Commission and the City of Edmonton are conducting reviews of the bout.
A family member of Hague's has started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for funeral expenses.
"I just want everyone to try to help Tim's family," Braidwood said. "That's what this should really be about. Instead of leaving a comment, contact his family. I know they set up an account. Help them any way that you can and let's try to leave it at that. And you know, nobody wanted this."
A heavyweight trained in jiu-jitsu, Hague put his teaching career on hold to make his pro MMA debut in 2006.
His first UFC fight came in May 2009 at UFC 98 — a submission win over Pat Barry in the first round. He competed on three more UFC cards by May 2010, dropping all three bouts.
His last UFC event was a Fight Night show in January 2011 and his final pro MMA fight was in July 2016. He compiled a 21-13 MMA record before switching to boxing.
Hague had been knocked out in his previous boxing match in December.