'We're all doing OK': Family of fighter Tim Hague overwhelmed by support from MMA community
'The ripples go way further and way deeper than we ever could have imagined'
One week after an Alberta fighter died in the ring, his family has been holding it together — with help from various communities he was a part of — ahead of a celebration of his life on Monday.
Tim Hague, who was injured in the boxing ring on June 16 after being knocked out by opponent Adam Braidwood, died two days later from a brain injury. He was 34 years old.
Jackie Neil, Hague's older sister, said the family has received a lot of support from their friends, family and even strangers over the past week.
"We're all doing OK — we've had phenomenal community and family support," Neil told CBC News Sunday, adding that his nine-year-old son is doing well.
"It's been really kind of touching for everybody to come and see us. We certainly didn't expect it."
The celebration of life is in Hague's hometown of Boyle, Alta. The celebration of life will be difficult for the family, but it was made easier by the GoFundMe page set up to help the family.
The GoFundMe has raised almost $49,000 in a week. The money is paying for the funeral expenses, Neil said, and the rest of the funds will go to Hague's wife and nine-year-old son.
The fundraiser received a bump when MMA fighter Matt Mitrione told the crowd at Madison Square Garden Saturday night to donate to the fund.
Hey <a href="https://twitter.com/mattmitrione">@mattmitrione</a> that was an amazing shout out for our boy Tim Hague! <a href="https://t.co/f6wcUr5Mcr">https://t.co/f6wcUr5Mcr</a> <a href="https://t.co/CBQx8FBdtn">pic.twitter.com/CBQx8FBdtn</a>—@IamJoFay
Mitrione won his fight at the Bellator pay-per-view event Saturday night, and tweeted out the link for his followers to donate afterward.
Neil said the family was surprised to hear the shout-out. "It's still surreal for us to know that he was friends with these guys," she said. "For him to give a shout-out to Tim, it's really touching."
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Mitrione's acknowledgment was another example of the effect Hague had on the people around him — something Neil said her family didn't know the extent of until recently.
"The ripples go way further and way deeper than we ever could have imagined," she said. "Ian [Hague, Tim's brother] and I are getting so many messages daily since this happened about how Tim helped somebody one time.
"Everybody he met, he seems to have left a lasting impression."
Best shape of his life
In the days leading up to the fight, Neil said, Hague was in the best shape of his life. He had dropped weight and seemed to be in good shape mentally.
"There was nothing for us to suspect that maybe he shouldn't fight," she said.
But since it happened, family members haven't focused as much on the fight itself. They've been remembering Tim and supporting his wife and son.
The Edmonton Combative Sports Commission said last week it plans to review everything involved with the fight. The City of Edmonton, which oversees the commission, said it is planning a third-party review.
Neil said she hopes that if changes are made, they're to maintain safety in the ring.
"We just hope fighters are more safe in the ring," she said. "We just don't want another family to have to go through this."
Hague's celebration of life is at 1 p.m. Monday in Boyle.
With files from Mark Harvey