Blagoi Ivanov, an undefeated Bellator heavyweight, is reportedly clinging to life at Pirogov Hospital in Sofia, Bulgaria after being stabbed in the heart in a Sunday morning barroom brawl.
According to Bulgaria's Sofia News Agency, the fighter remains in critical condition on artificial life support.
Ivanov and two friends were allegedly attacked by eight individuals armed with bats and knives immediately after arriving to a bar on Graf Ignatiev Street. Police arrived at 5:10 a.m. to discover the assailants missing and a deep stab wound under Ivanov's armpit that was later found to have pierced his heart.
The three victims were rushed to Pirogov Hospital, where surgeons reportedly carried out a life-saving operation on Ivanov. Despite the procedure, doctors maintain that the 25-year-old's life is still "under a real threat."
Ivanov's two friends were treated for light wounds and bruises and have since been released from the hospital.
Police are currently investigating the attack. According to reports, the same bar was also the scene of a recent shooting.
Ivanov (6-0, 1 NC) is perhaps best known for being the man to dethrone Fedor Emelianenko in the 2008 Combat Sambo World Championships finals. After rolling to a 3-0 record to kick off his professional mixed martial arts career, "Baga" inked a deal with Bellator Fighting Championships, where he promptly finished William Penn and Zak Jensen to advance to the semi-finals of Season 5's heavyweight tournament.
However, Ivanov would ultimately withdraw from a Bellator 56 bout against Thiago Santos due to an injury sustained in training. He then fought against former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez, earning a third-round TKO victory last December.