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Top 6 worst injuries in MMA

Words by Nathan Irvine

Graphic content

UFC star, Chris Weidman is the latest fighter to succumb to the type of highlight (lowlight?) reel entry that will turn the stomachs of those who watch it. For those that haven't seen it yet, have at it. For those that prefer a text-based description, here you go.

Weidman threw a leg kick at opponent Uriah Hall within the first 30 seconds of the fight at UFC 261. Hall checked it (read: put his shin out to defend) and Weidman's leg snapped like a piece of dried out wood. The wobbly jelly effect when he tried to put weight on it again was grim, and we wish him a speedy recovery.

He's not the first to suffer such awful trauma in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) - and won't be the last. Here's a look at some of the other grotesque injuries that have come before him. Goes without saying that there's graphic content below. You've been warned.



Skull smasher

In 2016, it was clear that Cyborg Santos was in distress when his opponent, Michael Venom Page landed a sickening knee to the head. Fighters are a different breed and rarely show when they've been hurt, but the Cyborg was rolling around the Bellator ring screaming. The strike hit with such ferocity that it fractured Cyborg's skull and caused a visible dent. A four hour operation saved his life, but his fighting career was - obviously - KO'd too.


Original shin snapper

Chris Weidman is no stranger to a broken leg in the octagon. Although, the last time it happened he wasn't the recipient of a broken appendage. Back in December 2013, the American faced off against arguably the best fighter the UFC has ever seen, Brazilian Anderson Silva. Like Weidman recently, The Spider pumped out a leg kick only to see it crumble on Weidman's shin in almost identical fashion.


Missing digit

If there was any further proof needed of the super-human effects that adrenaline can have on a person, just ask Khetag Pliev. In 2021, having fended off a flurry of kicks with his hand and arm, Pliev went back to his corner only for his coaches to point out he was missing a finger. Pliev didn't initially notice it was gone. In the ensuing panic the crowd were asked to help look for the finger. It turned up in his glove and was successfully reattached. Phew.


Swollen features

When Joanna Jedrzejczyk came out of war with Weili Zhang for UFC strawweight gold she was barely recognisable. The Polish star usually looks like this, but after that fight in 2020 she was barely recognisable. The haematomas around her face and forehead had transformed Jedrzejczyk into something that resembled a B-movie alien. Thankfully, she made a full recovery and her face no longer looks like a bag of spanners.


Broken arms

Frank Mir had previous before he stepped into the octagon with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. In a fight against Tim Sylvia, Mir managed to snap his foe's arm via a submission. Now, this isn't the norm within MMA - a fighter will tap long before the break happens. But against Nogueira, lightning struck twice and Mir tied up his opponent's appendage and snapped it clean in half. Ouch.


Eye poke

There have been a fair few eye pokes in the sport of MMA. It's something the athletes have long complained about and seems like such an easy fix to just conceal the digits in a glove. Anyway, Matt Mitrione was on the receiving end of not one, but two vicious pokes when he fought Travis Browne. The cumulative effects of each made it look like Mitrione had a golf ball stuck under his eyelid.

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