Competitive sports, as a rule, don’t usually involve the loss of body parts. There have been some exceptions over the years — a basketball player in New Zealand whose eye popped out of its socket, or (on a more satirical note) the old SNL sketch where a weightlifter accidentally tears off his own arms. But a recent MMA bout took the sport to new heights (or depths, depending on your perspective) when one of the combatants misplaced his own finger.
On Thursday, Khetag Pliev faced off against Devin Goodale in a Cage Fury Fighting Championships match in Philadelphia, which was broadcast live to UFC Fight Pass viewers. As The Guardian reports, at some point during the match’s first or second round — and the fact that this is not immediately clear is very unsettling in its own way — Pliev lost his finger.
A series of Tweets from MMA reporter Aaron Bronsteter offers a succinct discussion of the gradual realization of all involved in the fight that one of the participants had one fewer digit than he did when the match began.
The increased level of horror for all involved included an alarmed CM Punk, who was providing commentary for the match. “It wasn’t a compound fracture, a break, it wasn’t a dislocation, a break, a laceration. His finger was just gone,” CM Punk said. “It’s gone.”
Goodale was declared the winner by TKO. Thankfully, Pliev’s finger was eventually found and — several hours later — surgically reattached. “All good,” Pliev said once the surgery was complete.
Pliev represented Canada in wrestling at the 2012 Olympics and inspired many with his life story — which included a period of homelessness. Clearly, the man knows something about overcoming difficult situations, which served him well in this week’s stint in the ring.