Andre Pederneiras, Shooto's president and a veteran trainer/manager, confirmed the news of Souza's passing with MMAjunkie.com.
"It's with a heavy heart that through this letter we share the news of the passing of the athlete Leandro Caetano de Souza. The athlete passed away at the emergency unit in Botafogo. The reasons are not yet known to us," Pederneiras wrote on Facebook. "We would like to express our condolences to all friends and family."
Souza's teammate, Andre Santos, said the deceased fighter passed out just prior to the official Shooto Brazil 43 weigh-ins, as he was trying to cut the remaining two pounds necessary to reach his contracted weight requirement for the event.
"We don’t have much information yet," Santos told MMAFighting.com, "but we do know that is related to his weight cut. He’s my student but he also trains at Nova Uniao for about a year. I wasn’t with him during this process because I have a fight scheduled in Russia, so he spent the night at Nova Uniao’s gym. His sister called me saying that he had passed out so I went to the hospital, but he was already dead when I got there."
Is there is anything the MMA community can take from this terrible tragedy, it's that weight-cutting is a dangerous process that should be carefully supervised by a professional.
If done incorrectly, or too aggressively, fighters may start to experience symptoms caused by the body starting to shut down.
Headaches, tiredness, low blood pressure are just a few of the symptoms, and more drastically kidney failure and unconsciousness.
Fight night weigh-ins and hydration testing are two ideas that could possibly work in making weight-cutting in MMA a tad safer. Unfortunately, it took the death of an innocent young man for the MMA community to take notice of the necessary changes.