A champion kickboxer has had two operations following an accident during a fight on Saturday night.
But family friend Mike Angove said it was too early to say whether Ra Redden, 26, would be paralysed.
The accident occurred during a fight at an event in Wellington on Saturday.
About 20 minutes into the fight Redden and his opponent were doing a twist and clinch maneuver when both men lost their balance.
"Ra fell underneath Gene and it was unfortunate the full weight of both men went on Ra's neck," Mr Angrove said.
Mr Angove said it was immediately obvious something was wrong and Redden was kept still while an ambulance arrived.
"He was concious... He indicated that there was some form of paralysis, he couldn't feel below his shoulders, he had limited movement in one of his arms. But he was just encouraged to stay still at that point."
Redden was taken to Wellington Hospital where he underwent surgery.
He was then taken to Burwood Hospital in Christchurch where he had a second operation this afternoon, Mr Angove said.
His family was with him but it was too early to say what the outcome would be.
"It's just one of those things, it's not an injury I have seen in 25 years in this sport," Mr Angove said.
"Really tragic accident - could just have easily have been my kids wrestling in the backyard - just really unfortunate."
There was no indication that there was a safety issue at the event, Mr Angove said.
But he said the video footage would be looked at and a review would be done.
A givealittle page has been set up to help Redden and his son, 5, and family.