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MMA referee Neil Hall dies aged 55 following Covid battle as Conor McGregor’s UFC coach Kavanagh pays tribute

LEGENDARY English MMA referee Neil Hall has died aged 55 after a three-week battle with Covid-19 pneumonia.

His wife, Kath, revealed the news in a Facebook post on Wednesday. 

Legendary MMA ref Neil Hall has died aged 55

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Legendary MMA ref Neil Hall has died aged 55Credit: Instagram
The much-loved Englishman, pictured with Petr Yan, passed after a three-week battle with Covid-19

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The much-loved Englishman, pictured with Petr Yan, passed after a three-week battle with Covid-19Credit: Getty

She revealed Hall that he contracted the virus after a check-up appointment following an August back procedure.

Kath wrote: “Sadly, Neil Hall passed away today.

“He had a back operation in August and picked up an infection in the surgery area which wasn’t found till late January.

“He went into hospital for intravenous antibiotics for a week then came home, unfortunately it was with COVID.

“He spent three weeks trying to fight Covid pneumonia but sadly he lost his fight today.

“Over the years, Neil has met many people from all over the world and has had lots of fantastic experiences. Today we have to say goodbye to him.”

Hall officiated 40 UFC fights from 2013 up until 2019.

Tributes quickly began to pour in once the news of Hall’s was announced, with fellow referee Marc Goddard and John Kavanagh leading them.

He wrote on social media: “Anyone who is anyone in UKMMA will have known Neil, a tough as nails gritty northerner who wore his heart on his sleeve and was just a bloody good bloke.

“When Neil made it to the UFC it was like a kid at Christmas and he was so proud and Neil you made it your way and I’m so glad you got to stand there and do what you truly loved. I will not forget our words.”

Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh said: “In shock to hear that referee Neil Hall passed away earlier today. An honourable referee with an eye for detail.

“Spent many a Saturday night post show discussing fights gone by with him. #RIP brother.”

Bellator’s former UFC fighter Paul Redmond wrote: “Wow sorry to hear the passing of Neil Hall, reffed a couple of my fights and always had a laugh before & after competitions. Really nice guy. R.I.P.”

British UFC flyweight star Molly McCann added: “REST IN PEACE NEIL HALL.”

As well as officiating, Hall’s journey through MMA world began with judo in  the early 1980s and he went on to earn a black belt.

That is when his love of MMA began, as he trained in Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, kickboxing and grappling before going on to open his own Fighting Chance gym in 2000.

Hall competed in several pro fights in MMA under the Pride and Glory and the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship promotions before embarking on a career as a referee.

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