If you’re not a fan of Steven Lim, bodybuilding, or fighting in general, you may not be aware that a Singaporean veteran bodybuilder died two years ago after a celebrity fight.
World Bodybuilding & Physique Sports Federation (WBPF) President Pradip Subramanian took on online personality and self-proclaimed superstar Steven Lim (he literally calls himself a superstar) in a celebrity Muay Thai match at Marina Bay Sands on 23 September, 2017.
Pradip had reportedly looked shaken after the battle and had to be helped out of the ring. He was rushed to Singapore General Hospital where he died at the age of 32.
Had underlying heart conditions
According to an autopsy report prepared by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), Pradip had two underlying heart conditions that placed him at a high risk of cardiac arrest.
The 32-year-old was not aware of these conditions at the time, reported CNA.
Adjunct Associate Professor Tong Khim Leng said in a coroner’s court that the veteran bodybuilder had a “bad heart” and that his chances of survival were “extremely poor”.
Among his conditions, Pradip had an enlarged heart and pre-existing cardiomyopathy – a disease of the heart muscle that can lead to heart failure.
He also had a mutant variant of a gene associated with a condition known as Long QT syndrome 1, which is an inherited disorder of the heart’s electrical activity that is associated with sudden cardiac death.
Assoc Prof Tong, who is a senior consultant specialising in cardiology, said the Long QT is triggered by “severe exertion and emotion”.
“We know that this (was) a celebrity match, there’s a lot of tension on him”, she said.
She speculated that the extreme situation and adrenaline surge could have contributed in triggering the cardiac arrest.
Late replacement for Sylvester Sim
Celebrity fights have become popular in the last few years, with the most recent example being KSI’s boxing match with Logan Paul.
But what makes Pradip’s death even sadder is that he wasn’t even supposed to fight Steven Lim.
Lim was originally slated to fight ex-Singapore Idol runner-up Sylvester Sim. The two have reportedly had a long-standing feud since 2008.
However, Sim had to pull out due to “insufficient insurance coverage”. So, Pradip stepped in as a late replacement.
Pradip’s father said their family was initially unaware he was taking part in the fight. He went down to watch the match and did not want to discourage Pradip because he was in his gear and ready to fight.
Oxygen would not have helped much
According to Pradip’s family lawyers Sunil Sudheesan and Diana Ngiam, Pradip’s father said he never saw any oxygen mask placed on his son.
Two paramedics who took the stand said the 32-year-old had been given oxygen a few minutes after he was taken from the side of the ring.
However, Assoc Prof Tong said that the medical attention given to Pradip was adequate and timely, and dismissed the suggestion that giving him oxygen a few minutes quicker would have helped his chances of survival.
“If the heart decides to give way, no matter how much oxygen you give, it’s not going to revive the heart”, she said.
An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may have helped, but CPR is only given when there is no pulse.
And an AED could not be used on Pradip because the machine was automated and Pradip was asystolic – a cardiac arrest rhythm with no discernible electrical activity on the EKG monitor.
“Just looking at the autopsy, his chances of survival (were) extremely poor,” she said.
A “fearless warrior”
Many paid tribute online to the veteran bodybuilder, including the man who fought him in the ring hours before his death.
Lim called Pradip a “truly respected fearless warrior and fighter”, and offered his deepest condolences.
It’s been two years since Pradip’s death, but many are still mourning his loss.