Search icon


18th Apr 2016

Irish undertaker agrees to pay for the return of Joao Carvalho’s body to Portugal

This is a wonderful gesture

Darragh Murphy

The mixed martial arts community is a relatively small, but close-knit, group.

That fact becomes even truer when it comes to the MMA community in a country as small as Ireland, but one striking characteristic of that world is the fact that everybody looks after one another.

Following the tragic passing of Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho last week from injuries sustained in a fight against SBG’s Charlie Ward, a Dublin undertaker who trains in MMA has agreed to foot the bill for Carvalho’s repatriation.

Joao Carvalho eye witness account

Justin Fitzgerald, who trains at Rush Fight Academy in north Dublin, has been in contact with Carvalho’s family. He told The Herald newspaper:

“I’m a big fan of the sport, and when everything happened I was in the position where I was able to look after the family, and that’s why I did it. At 28 years of age [Carvalho] probably had no life insurance or anything, so I was able to help out. The only thing I have to do is send him on a plane across the water to the undertaker in Portugal to look after.”


Fitzgerald’s head coach, Paul Cowzer, was in attendance at Total Extreme Fighting, and he has since set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Carvalho’s family and, at the time of writing, that page has received almost €10,000 in donations.

But Fitzgerald has insisted on paying the fees necessary to embalm and ship Carvalho’s body, as well as pay for his coffin, so that it can be returned to Lisbon. He said:

“I’ve been in contact with them since last week and I sat down and talked with them and went through everything. I don’t think they are fully aware of what is actually happening at the moment because of the shock of what happened last week.”