Russian MMA fighter Alexander Pisarev has died at the age of just 33 with some reports claiming that he ate 'poisoned' watermelon.
News of his tragic passing was announced on Sunday (30 October), after he was found unconscious in his apartment by his father.
The Moscow-native had amassed a professional Mixed Martial Arts record of 3-2 since making his debut back in 2015. Not active since 2020, his most notable success in the sport was reaching the final of the MMA European Championships.
On Tuesday, his father Vladimirovich explained to the Shot Telegram channel: "I looked into the room — Alexander and his wife were sleeping. I came closer and then realised that my son was no longer breathing.
"There were fractures of the fingers after the last fights, but this is nothing. We all eat the same food, we live together."
However, his father's assertion that the family all eat the same food has been challenged by an unnamed member of Pisarev's Tomahawk team - who alleges that his son's death was as a result of food poisoning.
Media outlet Pravda reports that watermelon was the cause of death, stating that the fighter's wife has also been hospitalised due to the tainted food.
A statement from the Moscow Region Investigative Committee read: "In Balashikha, an investigation was organized into the death of an athlete as a result of poisoning.
"Investigators, with the participation of a forensic specialist, are conducting an additional inspection of the scene, confiscating items relevant to the investigation, and planning a forensic chemical examination."
Tributes poured in for the MMA star, who was well-known in his native Russia.
His fight club, Tomahawk, paid their respects with a statement, saying: "My brother, my friend, my student! Words cannot express the extent of the loss.
"Alexander Pisarev is the standard of friendship, decency and courage of a Russian person. I and we will miss you!!! Rest in peace our brother."
While watermelon does sound like a slightly outlandish cause of death, as Healthline state, the fruit can turn poisonous in certain circumstances.
According to Heathline, fruits including cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew melon have a high risk of causing food poisoning due to Listeria bacteria, which can grow on the rind of the fruit and spread to the flesh.
The site advises washing fruit before you eat it to help reduce the risks of food poisoning, and placing it in the fridge if it is not eaten straight away.