21-Year-Old MMA Fighter Isaiah Abels Suffers a Cardiac Arrest During Fight

Earlier this month, a young fighter suffered a medical emergency during a fight at The Coliseum in downtown Evansville, Indiana.

Amateur MMA fighter Isaiah Abels, 21, was rushed to the hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest shortly after landing a second-round takedown during a fight, Express reported.

Medical personnel rushed in and were able to restart Abels’ heart before he was taken to the hospital.

According to the doctors, Isaiah experienced brain damage due to a lack of oxygen to his brain for several minutes.

Abels’ brother Zach posted an emotional message on Facebook explaining how the incident occurred during the second round after he landed a takedown.

Last night Isaiah Abels engaged in battle. It went two rounds. First round went to him with beautiful striking. The fight transitioned into the second round. Isaiah continued to pick his shots and maintained his pace and distance.

Unexpectedly he was countered with a lead hook. He responded with a takedown and continued to pressure his opponent against the fence to recover from the hook. Isaiah then disengaged from the clinch and went to press forward. As he continued to pressure his opponent something ominous happened.

Isaiah took a step forward and collapsed to his knees. He was going into respiratory arrest. Soon after the fight was stopped. The ref had no idea what really happened thinking it was a typical stoppage. Clearly it wasn’t. Isaiah wasn’t getting up because he was also going into cardiac arrest.

Once the doctors and medics accessed the situation. They got his heart going as they assisted his breathing. We rushed to the hospital. A hour or so later Isaiah was stabilized.

I don’t know what you believe in, but the fear of God was put into all of us last night. Words can’t even describe. I’m grateful for everyone praying and thinking about him, but I really wanna thank the medical professionals along with God. Again, I don’t know to what degree you believe in God, but please continue to keep Isaiah in your thoughts and prayers.

Please, God. Please everyone. Please. I love you, Isaiah Lee

A fundraising campaign was created to help with medical finances. Below are the updates via the GoFundMe page:

March 8, 2023 by Terri Himelick, Organizer

  • The neurologist said that everything looks good. His slow responses are reaction based, he’s reacting to touch and sound so best we can do is give him time. He needs time for his mind and body to heal, the medications he’s on can also attribute to his brain slowly responding, that and whatever punches he took before the stoppage. The doctor said that he can hear us so best we can do is keep positive. They say that if he doesn’t wake up in the next 3 days then they’ll make sure to do more scans of his brain. Just keep positive and keep praying. We’re all trying our best for him. We’re gonna walk out with him sometime soon. This process takes time. Please continue to pray for my brother. God is the embodiment of love, god is with us! This was just posted from his twin brother, Elijah Abels

March 9, 2023 by Terri Himelick, Organizer

  • Thank you for all the support. I am in contact with the family daily. I updated the goal to help cover some more of the medical expenses as he is taking longer to wake up. The family appreciates the prayers and words of encouragement. His twin brother holds his hand and is reading them to him while he is sedated❤️ .I know he can hear him so please keep the encouragement coming!

March 9, 2023 by Terri Himelick, Organizer

  • New update from Elijah (his twin brother): the PT visited Isaiah the other day. His ventilator is assisting him with 10% of his breathing so he is breathing at 90% on his own. His color looks good today. The siblings are heading home so one can return to school for the rest of the week and they will head back to the hospital friday. His dad and mom are still by his side. Thank you again for all those who are supporting this family and showering them with love, encouragement and prayers.

March 9, 2023 by Terri Himelick, Organizer

  • New update from his dad 44mins ago. Isaiah had a second CAT scan and MRI done today- the doctor said the MRI didn’t look good- Isaiah has brain damage-due to lack of oxygen to the brain for 3-5 mins. Best case he has a week to respond to commands like -open your eyes and squeeze my hand. If he cant do this by next Tuesday they will transport him via ambulance ride back to fort wayne. After that his best case would be weeks to months or rehab, worse case he will have lifelong issues. I will be bumping up the goal to help get him back home. Please keep praying

March 10 by Terri Himelick, Organizer

  • Just spoke with Elijah (his twin) and they will be putting a trach in to prepare him for travel. His dad is making a lot of calls to make sure they have a place that will take him and a way to get him back home to Fort Wayne. Please continue to share this page so we can take some of the financial burden off this family and also spread the word for people to pray for him and his family.

March 10 by Terri Himelick, Organizer

  • His dad just posted that they will be transfering him to a long term care facility. This will place many doctors and therapists around him to help him on his recovery journey. He still has lots of work to do but he will be able to do it with all his family at his side as they will be together. This will be a blessing as we are all “better together”!!! Thanks for joining the fight

March 11 by Terri Himelick, Organizer

  • Isaiah had a trach put in his throat yesterday for breathing – they put a feeding tube in his stomach – he is not tied down – sometimes he opens his eyes – he is off the propofol and fentanyl – now he is on pain medication – the nurses and staff are great – they let us sleep in the room at night – afraid to leave here – still looking for a long term care facility that is good – closest one is probably one hour away in Muncie – Isaiah needs to be weaned off the ventilator and off the drugs – wake up – then rehab. Please continue to pray that insurance gives the ok to get him transferred to muncie. It isnt his home town but it is the best care that is closest to fort wayne to give him the best chance!! Also pray for peace for the family as they are in the waiting game and world of unknowns!
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