NEW YORK -- The family of brain-damaged Russian heavyweight boxer Magomed Abdusalamov has filed court documents that state its intent to file a $100 million lawsuit against the state of New York and its athletic commission, alleging negligence and medical malpractice.
Abdusalamov, 32, was in a coma for weeks following emergency brain surgery to remove a large blood clot hours after his Nov. 2 Madison Square Garden bout with Mike Perez. Perez won a unanimous 10-round decision, landing 312 punches to Abdusalamov's 248. Now in a rehabilitation facility, Abdusalamov has shown slight movement and can follow simple commands, but he remains bedridden, said Dr. Rupendra Swarup, medical director of the Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital department of neurosurgery. Abdusalamov may never walk or talk again.
During a postfight exam in the dressing room, Abdusalamov, who broke his upper jaw and hand during the fight, told New York State Athletic Commission doctors that his head hurt, according to his handlers. They said doctors gave him a neurological test that required him to read a series of numbers, sutured a cut above his left eye and told him he had a broken nose and that he should have his injuries looked at by a doctor within a day or two upon returning home to Florida.
What neither the commission doctors nor anyone else realized was that at some point Abdusalamov's brain started bleeding. Left untreated, Swarup said, the condition would have killed him.
Matt Farrago, the state athletic commission inspector assigned to monitor Abdusalamov that night, said that after commission doctors cleared the fighter and left the dressing room, he noticed blood in Abdusalamov's urine sample -- a possible sign of internal bleeding. Farrago, who boxed professionally for eight years, said he advised Abdusalamov's handlers to take him by taxi to a hospital. A Madison Square Garden source who spoke only on the condition of anonymity told "Outside the Lines" that two ambulances were on site (state boxing regulations require at least one for a fight card), but commission doctors summoned neither one for Abdusalamov.
In early November, acting on a request from the office of New York's Secretary of State, which oversees the athletic commission, the state inspector general launched an investigation of the fight and what happened after it. No date for the inquiry's completion has been announced. State athletic commission chairwoman Melvina Lathan and chief medical officer Dr. Barry Jordan -- both of whom were at ringside -- the other commission doctors on duty that night and referee Benjy Esteves Jr. have not commented publicly since the probe began and declined "Outside the Lines" interview requests.
Paul Edelstein, the attorney for Abdusalamov's wife and three young daughters, told "Outside the Lines" that he soon will file a lawsuit against commission doctors and other parties.
He said the legislation that created the commission gives it immunity against some types of litigation but that the state could be liable if there is a legal finding that Abdusalamov was mishandled by the state-employed doctors and others who oversaw the fight.