Unquestionably one of the most grizzly injuries in combat sports history occurred last night when a fighter had one of his fingers completely severed off during a Cage Fury Fighting Championship event in Philadelphia that was airing live on UFC Fight Pass.
It sounds like a bizarre April Fool’s prank, but it’s actually a true story.
At the end of the second round of the fight the action was brought to a screeching halt when the referee spotted the gruesome sight that Khetag Pliev’s left ring finger was missing.
However, no one, including the fighter himself, was sure exactly when it had happened or where his missing finger now was, which prompted a search of the entire arena as officials feared it must have gone flying out of the cage.
As it turned out, Pliev’s finger had in actual fact fallen into his own glove, which led to him being rushed to hospital to have it reattached – a surgery which thankfully appears to have been successful.
Pliev, a 37-year-old former Olympic wrestler, would later describe what he thought happened, noting that he believes that he first dislocated the finger in the opening round, but that his opponent Devin Goodale kept grabbing at his glove, which may have led to it becoming severed.
“In the second round, he caught my glove with one hand and held it,” Pliev told ESPN. “I felt my finger snapped. He kept pulling my glove and my finger snapped. We kept fighting. When the second round was finished, I see my [bone] was out in the open. I wanted to keep fighting, because I felt like I had this guy. But the doctor saw that and stopped the fight.”
While the Russian was remarkably cool-headed about the ordeal, CFFC promotor Rob Haydek was understandably shocked by what had happened.
“It was a surreal moment,” Haydak said. “I said, ‘Wait a second, where the f— is his finger?’ They were all like, ‘I don’t know.’ It was crazy,” Haydak said. “He didn’t even flinch. He was getting ready to do the [official] decision and I was like, ‘Uh, guys, get him out of the cage and go put his finger back on.’”