Houston MMA fighter dies in cage and comes back to life

HOUSTON -- A mixed martial arts fighter says he died in the cage and came back to life.

Clovis "CJ" Hancock is the first to admit, it's a miracle he's alive.

"I heard of it happening before. I never thought it would happen to me," said Hancock.

Last Friday night, Hancock was competing in a MMA fight at the Arena Theater in Southwest Houston when he collapsed in the ring.

Houston businessman Rob Todd, who was in the audience, captured the moments after Hancock's collapse on video. It shows rescuers furiously pumping his chest, trying to get his heart going.

"People were in all the various stages of panic, because you got a person at this point, have had CPR for five minutes? People are yelling from the audience, does he have a punctured lung," recalled Todd.

Two shocks from a defibrillator and several days in the hospital later, Hancock's alive. As we showed him Todd's video for the first time, tears streamed down his face.

Hancock, like many pro fighters, drops weight rapidly to fit into a lower weight class. It's a process called cutting, and fighters admit it can be dangerous. Hancock was trying to get from his normal weight of 215 to 170 pounds in 2 months, often by sweating it out in a sauna. He believes that's what almost killed him.

"There were a couple of times when I came out of the sauna, I was light headed and dizzy and I felt like I was going to vomit, but there was nothing in my stomach. And I knew there was something wrong, but I just thought I could handle it," said Hancock.

Now feeling blessed to be revived after his collapse, Hancock and his girlfriend are reevaluating his future. Doing what's safe may require a new dream.

"I still plan on competing, but I probably won't be fighting anymore, and that was my dream, and now it's gone, and that was stupid," said Hancock.

Report a typo to the ABC13 staff
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.