clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

BKFC fighter Justin Thornton dies after suffering knockout loss at BKFC 20

New, 84 comments
Phil Lambert/BKFC

One-time BKFC fighter Justin Thornton has died following a brutal knockout loss suffered at his lone fight for the promotion back in August.

He was 38 years old.

BKFC issued a statement to MMA Fighting following news that Thornton has passed away several weeks after his fight at BKFC 20 in Mississippi.

“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,” BKFC president Dave Feldman said.

“We join the rest of the combat sports community in sending our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”

News of Thornton’s passing was first reported by MyMMANews.

According to posts made on Thornton’s personal Facebook page, he was hospitalized after he suffered a knockout in his fight against Dillon Cleckler at BKFC 20. The fight lasted just 19 seconds with Thornton falling face first to the canvas after he was knocked out during a rapid-fire exchange in the middle of the ring.

Reports state that Thornton was partially paralyzed after the fight and he remained hospitalized for several weeks after the event took place while also fighting off an infection from a spinal cord injury.

Prior to his fight in BKFC, Thornton was a mainstay on the mixed martial arts fight scene including his highly-publicized bout against Titan FC COO Lex McMahon this past November.

Throughout his career, Thornton (6-18) competed in several regional promotions with fights against a number of recognizable names including UFC heavyweights Chase Sherman and Walt Harris as well as Contender Series veterans Michael Lombardo and Austen Lane.