AN MMA fighter who died for 20 minutes while training says he is the “luckiest man alive” after his sparring partner saved his life.

Instructor Mark Hobbs, from East Grinstead, was teaching three students when he suffered a cardiac arrest.

The 40-year-old, who had student Richard Bisset pinned the to the ground, began to turn blue and his heart stopped beating.

Fellow students took it in turns to perform CPR while Mark’s 19-year-old son Harry Hobbs carried out mouth to mouth until an air ambulance arrived at Connetix Fight Club.

Mark was clinically dead for 20 minutes before paramedics restarted his heart with a defibrillator.

The Argus: Mark Hobbs, from East Grinstead Mark Hobbs, from East Grinstead

He was put into an induced coma for 12 hours and taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton where medics discovered he’d been living with three blocked arteries for years.

A quadruple bypass surgery was successfully carried out and Mark, who was given a 95 per cent chance of dying – survived and hopes to fight again.

“It’s really lucky. Imagine if I was in the car with my kids,” he said. “There is no doubt about it – Julian, Mark and Arron saved my life.

"Without their quick thinking and swift actions, I don't think I would be here to tell the tale."

Mark said he is thankful he was in mount position when the incident occurred – a dominant grappling position where a fighting is sat atop of their opponent.

“It was lucky - had I been underneath no one would know that I was struggling as I would already be lying on the floor,” he said.

He said he remembers asking “why can’t I choke you? I’ve got no power”, before passing out.

“Then he knew within a second that something was very seriously wrong,” Mark added. “Then they put me in the recovery position.

“My other 13-year-old son was having to watch too which was unfortunate.”

During his bypass surgery, doctors surgically changed four of Mark’s arteries going to his heart.

“They told me I had been living with three blocked arteries many years, but because I had a healthy heart which was in really good condition it had been overriding it, he said.

“Staying fit saved my life."

The Argus: Mark Hobbs at Connetix Fight ClubMark Hobbs at Connetix Fight Club

Mark is now recovering at home with his wife Karen and five sons.

“I was fighting really well with just one working artery so imagine what I will be like with four,” he joked. “You better believe I'm going to be four times better.

“I I was still training with the students that are 25 years old and competing at an international level.

“How is going to feel when I have four squeaky clean arteries quite exciting.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Mark to fundraise for more defibrillators at sports facilities across Sussex.