With the rise in popularity of mixed martial arts, the use of MMA techniques like chokes and armbars has increased in the WWE. In a macabre accident, the combination proved fatal in Louisiana.
A 24-year-old Louisiana man died Sunday night when, authorities say, he stopped breathing while wrestling with a young cousin on the floor. Stephen A. Arceneaux III was pronounced dead at St. Charles Parish Hospital at 10:39 p.m. An autopsy was being performed in New Orleans on Monday.
According to St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne, Arceneaux had gathered with friends at a home on Murray Hill Drive to watch the pay-per-view event "Wrestlemania 28" on television when he and a 14-year-old cousin began to wrestle on an inflated mattress on the floor. The juvenile, who is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds, placed his arm around the neck of Arceneaux, who was 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighed 220 pounds, in a "rear naked choke" for 30 to 40 seconds.
Witnesses reported that Arceneaux said he would not give up or “tap out,” since many wrestlers tap out as a last resort.
But at some point, someone noticed that Arceneaux was turning blue and told the youngster to release the hold. When he did, witnesses realized that Arceneaux had stopped breathing and dialed 911, shortly after 10 p.m.
Arceneaux's girlfriend tried to revive him with CPR. He was transported to St. Charles Parish Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Champagne said the investigation is continuing. No arrests have been made.
"It's bizarre," said Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Pat Yoes. "We're still investigating it. But when you have violent horseplay like that, it just goes to show you that anything can happen."