WEDNESDAY, JULY 28th, 2010

Adrienne Simmons

She Lost Her Life Doing What She Loved...

No words can express the feelings we all have after the loss of Adrienne Simmons after her bout at the 2010 IKF World Classic in Orlando, Florida, USA. Adrienne (34) was from Atlanta, Georgia and was no stranger to the IKF World Classic, having competed in the 2008 IKF World Classic held at the very same venue which hosted her last fight in the ring, the Orlando World Center Marriott.

In the 3rd round of her Championship bout against Lindsay Scheer of Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Adrienne was hit with a punch that sent her to the canvas. Immediately to her aid was chief event doctor, Dr. Allan Fields. Adrienne sat up and spoke to Dr. Fields and others while in the ring. Adrienne was taken to the locker room by one of her trainers where Dr. Fields continued to oversee her condition. On the way back to the locker room Dr. Fields gave the command for a 911 call for a medical response, sensing her condition may be worse than what it appeared and stressing for the need for a helicopter lift to the Orlando Trauma Center. He also called in to have a trauma team present, awaiting her arrival.

The ambulance crew took her to the driving range of the golf course at the Marriott where she was immediately airlifted to the hospital. Later that night she underwent surgery for brain bleeding and swelling. Unfortunately, the following morning, Adrienne passed away. A sheriff's office spokeswoman said the death is considered an accident.

The shock of her passing is and will be felt by many for a long time. Questions have been asked to try and find a reason, an excuse or someone to blame for such a tragic accident. The reality is, that this was a terrible, unexpected accident and the most shocking to us all is that such a tragic accident could happen to any fighter, any time just like it could happen in any other sport.

Adrienne's loss though will not be in vain. Already there are plans in the works to remember her, and many more will follow. As we are informed of any fund-raising efforts, we will post them here. As of this posting, we have not been given any funeral arrangements, but when they are available, we will post them.

Lindsay Scheer's trainer Eric Haycraft gives a more detailed account of what he witnessed.

The bout itself seemed normal enough on all fronts. Lindsay, the more experienced of the two, took control of the bout scoring an eight count on the very first jab thrown. Several seconds later a standing eight count was given and the round drew to a close.
Round two continued with more of the same, however Adrienne never stopped trying and never gave up. No eight counts this round.
The third round opened up and Lindsay landed a three punch combo that ended the bout. The ref waived the bout off immediately and the doctors who were already sitting ringside watching the bout were in the ring right away. It really just seemed like a normal bout. It was a heavy shot but everyone involved from the ref to the doctors and officials and myself had no reason to believe there was anything abnormal except a fighter getting their bell rung like we all have had at some point in our careers. Adrienne came to, we were right there as she sat up and spoke. Confirming our thoughts that this was to be no different than any other bout ending blow. Adrienne was taken to the back and attended to by the medical staff and we took care of the stuff we had to after the bout such as photos and such. We shortly after were told along with everyone that Adrienne had been airlifted out.

The events that unfold from here are very sad and in my twenty years of kickboxing I am ill prepared to explain or even handle well. We have had opportunities to speak with the ref, the doctors all the ringside officials and the burden and second guessing after the case is huge. Our sadness and inability to properly process all these events leaves us with no words.

My only hope is that Chike has the same support network in his community that we have here in ours and that he will have it in his heart to let us be a part of his extended support network. This is a life changing event for all involved but obviously most of all for Chike and Adrienne.

We love this sport with all our hearts. It is a game with risks and while we all know this, these risks seem so far removed. Let me make this clear…no one could have seen this coming. The ref, the doctors, us, her corner. No one. It is a horrible accident that happened at a sporting event.

We do not have all the latest news from Florida and until it is officially announced by Adrienne's people please please be respectful of the things that are posted. It is a very sad day. We love you Adrienne.

With Heavy Hearts,
Eric and Lindsay

Lindsay Scheer, her opponent has added,
"I have waited to make my statement about the terrible tragedy that has occurred this past weekend at IKFs because I wanted there to be time for all involved, especially those closest to Adrienne to have a chance to tell their friends and have their time to process this horrific event, but I feel there are some things that I need to say.
What I was hoping would be a wonderful day turned out to be the absolute worst day of my entire life. I had anticipated a great weekend of being around and getting to participate in what I love – Muay thai. I could never have imagined that the weekend would end with me being called into a room by a sheriff to inform me that I am being interviewed for a homicide investigation. I have literally been inconsolable since that moment. I did not know what it really felt like to cry. I was and am broken.
I returned home to be greeted by my amazing parents who drove to my house in Louisville to be with me and tell me in person that they love me and that they are behind me. They also drove down to tell me that my grandmother had died this morning as well. I do not add these details to evoke pity or draw attention to me. In fact, I am done talking about my hurt and my pain because it is only self-serving and would evoke pity and condolences from people that I just don't want or feel like I deserve. Any energy or thought in this matter must go to Adrienne and Chike.
I mention these details because they have helped to bring me to what I am about to say:
A piece of me died in the ring yesterday with Adrienne. I will never get it back…not even in time – it will not heal this, period. However, my initial visceral reaction when I was told by the police officers was a hysterical fit that I will never fight again.
To be honest, I am terrified to step into the ring and I don't know how I will be able to…but again, this is not about me. My grandmother was one of the strongest people I have had the privilege of knowing and Adrienne was one of the bravest. I know that my grandmother would tell me I am being weak and wasteful and I truly believe that Adrienne would want me to continue to fight because if this situation was reversed, I would have wanted her to do the same.
We both love this sport, it is more than what we do, it is a part of who we are and if I spend the rest of my life avoiding Muay Thai, then we both die. I say this because long before the IKF tournament, I had accepted a rematch bout with a very tough Dutch girl I had fought last year. This was the toughest fight I have ever had. It is scheduled for Aug 29th in Suriname. I think I have to go through with it. I have to find some way to make myself train and prepare for this match because I feel it needs to be done to commemorate Adrienne. She deserves nothing less. In fact, she deserves more than a bout in her memory, she deserves change. I cannot let her death be in vain.
The Kickboxing community needs to make something positive from this tragedy and I'll do whatever I can to facilitate it. I do not expect everyone to agree with me or even to understand where I am coming from. All that I ask is that you do not judge me. I of course will not proceed with the fight unless I have the support of Chike and those closest to Adrienne because I wish to do nothing that those who knew her best would deem disrespectful. So please…no responses to this post unless it is a way we can begin to make things better."

At present, the IKF is in the works to create a memorial or scholarship fund in Adrienne's honor.

"What has happened is tragic and has left so many of us in shock."
Said IKF President Steve Fossum.
"There are no words to communicate how deep Adrienne's loss is to so many of us whether we knew her personally or not. This is unchartered territory for us all and we will all need each other in hope to heal the tears and sorrow. It is my personal goal and our goal as the IKF to assure what has happened will not be forgotten. It is all of our responsibility as martial artists to assure her name lives on among us all in this sport and to do so, we will do whatever necessary to create something that will live forever. At present we are working on something called 'Adrienne's Prayer' which we will share with all of you soon. In the mean time, our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Adrienne, who are coping with this terrible, unexpected tragedy.

Rest in Peace Adrienne...

You are one of God's Champions now...

Adrienne's Fight Bracket at the 2010 IKF World Classic