Ex-BKFC heavyweight champion Joey Beltran was just hours away from his main event bout against Frank Tate on Thursday when he nearly choked to death at breakfast.
According to Beltran, he was eating when one of his coaches showed him a funny video on his phone, which caused him to start laughing and a piece of food got lodged in his throat.
“I started choking,” Beltran told TMZ. “I couldn’t cough up the food. I stood up and started panicking.”
It just so happened that BKFC president David Feldman was having breakfast at the same restaurant when the person sitting next to him was alerted to Beltran’s distress.
“We were actually just sitting there, I was having a conversation with one of my guys and he pointed and said, ‘Your main event’s choking,’ and I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’” Feldman told MMA Fighting. “I turn around and I’m like, holy s***!
“He was choking. He was trying to cough it up but he wasn’t making any noise and he was actually starting to turn colors.”
Feldman, who learned the Heimlich maneuver when he was just 12 years old after he watched his father save somebody’s life in a similar situation, leapt up from his table and ran over to assist Beltran.
“I jumped up and I gave him the Heimlich three times, he spit the food out and he was good,” Feldman said. “It was crazy. Jumped up and did it and ultimately saved him so it’s a good thing. I’m happy, he’s happy. Joey’s alive and kicking so everything is good.”
It was a frightening incident for everybody involved, but luckily Beltran was perfectly fine after coughing up the food and he’s still moving ahead with his fight in the main event at BKFC Fight Night from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“Of all people, the boss man had to come up and bust the Heimlich [maneuver],” Beltran said. “A couple pumps and I spit up the food out and it was all good. Contrary to popular belief, Dave Feldman cares about us fighters.”