Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Sai Aletaha: Kickboxer who died after bout 'liked by everyone'

Saeideh Aletaha Image copyright Stonehenge Crossfit gym
Image caption Saeideh Aletaha was "friends with all she met", her gym said

Tributes have been paid to a 26-year-old "popular" amateur kickboxer who died after suffering a brain injury during a bout.

Saeideh Aletaha was critically injured at a Fast and Furious Fight Series event in Southampton on Saturday night.

Stonehenge CrossFit gym said the fighter, known as Sai, was one of its "most dedicated, smiley" members.

It added more than 30 friends visited her in hospital on Sunday to say goodbye before she died.

Ms Aletaha was taken to Southampton General Hospital with a brain injury shortly before 21:00 GMT on Saturday.

Image copyright FFS
Image caption Ms Aletaha, 26, suffered a brain injury during a K-1 kickboxing bout in Southampton

Stonehenge CrossFit gym said Ms Aletaha, who had been a member for more than three years, was "popular, kind and liked by everyone".

Owner Scott Healey said: "It's testament to her popularity that friends camped out at the hospital for the day while her family was contacted.

"She took part in competitions, was friends with all she met, had time for everybody and was a tireless worker when she trained."

Posting on Facebook, organisers of the Fast & Furious Fight Series event said their thoughts were with the family and friends of Ms Aletaha and if anyone needed support "please come to us or your coaches".

Joe Taylor, who had previously trained Ms Aletaha, said he watched as she was knocked out in the third round and tended to by paramedics.

He said her friends in the kickboxing community had been left devastated.

"She was passionate in everything," he said. "In everything she did, in everything she said, she put a smile on everyone's face."

In a further tribute, a social media user posted on Exile Gym's Facebook page: "Her dedication to the sport was 110% travelling miles every day just to train."

Ms Aletaha's employer, Stannah Stairlifts in Andover, said she was a "kind, generous and talented designer".

Manager Andreas Szentisvany said: "She held a rare ability to empathise with others enabling her to develop products that would delight our customers."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption UFC fighter Rosi Sexton said it was important to look at whether any lessons can be learned

Rosi Sexton, the first British female fighter to compete in the UFC and a member of the English MMA Association (EMMAA) Board, said she had been given information about what happened.

In a statement, she said: "There doesn't appear to be anything obviously untoward about the match itself, or the way that the incident was handled afterwards.

"With so many people participating in combat sports of various kinds week in, week out, up and down the country, this is a very rare, but tragic event.

"Having spoken to someone involved, I know that everyone is just in shock at the moment, and I can only imagine how they must be feeling right now."

Image copyright Stonehenge Crossfit gym
Image caption Gym owner Scott Healey said Saeideh was a "tireless worker when she trained"

The event organisers added: "Safety is not something ever skimped on in any of our 19 shows and all matches are made equal.

"We make the environment as safe as possible with pre and post medicals from a doctor, and full medical cover throughout."

According to her social media profiles, Ms Aletaha was originally from Iran and lived in Salisbury.

Hampshire Constabulary said the death was not being treated as suspicious and a file was being prepared for the coroner.

A spokesman for Southampton City Council said it was satisfied the event was properly licensed and passed on condolences to Ms Aletaha's friends and family.

Image copyright Spencer Mulholland Photography
Image caption Saeideh Aletaha's employer Stannah Stairlifts said she was a "talented designer"

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites