MMA Fighter Khetag Pliev Lost Finger During Match, Still Wanted to Keep Fighting

In Friday’s Hot Clicks: a horrifying MMA injury, some highlights from Opening Day and more.
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MMA is not for the faint of heart

General view of an MMA cage

Thursday night’s Cage Fury Fighting Championship card in Philadelphia featured some tense moments as people in the arena were asked to search for the missing left ring finger of Khetag Pliev.

“It was a surreal moment,” CFFC promoter Rob Haydak told ESPN. “I said, ‘Wait a second, where the f--- is his finger?’ They were all like, 'I don't know.’ ”

Pliev, a 2012 Olympian in wrestling, lost his fight against Devin Goodale by referee stoppage when the ref noticed Pliev’s finger was gone. And nobody could find it. Officials searched for the missing finger for several minutes according to ESPN’s Marc Raimondi. Spectators were even asked by the PA announcer to look around for it. The finger was eventually discovered inside Pliev’s glove. (Click here if you want to see a screenshot of Pliev’s hand after the fight was stopped.)

Even though the mystery of the digit’s location was solved, nobody could quite figure out exactly how it came to be severed.

“I don’t understand exactly what happened,” former WWE wrestler and UFC fighter CM Punk, who was doing color commentary for the event, said on the broadcast. “We’re not going to replay it for you, ladies and gentlemen, but it wasn’t a compound fracture. It wasn’t a dislocation, a break, a laceration. His finger was just gone. It’s gone. It fell off, ripped off.”

After a closer examination of the tape, it looks like Goodale broke Pliev’s finger with a kick here. (These videos are not graphic—or, any more graphic than MMA usually is.)

You can see Pliev repeatedly adjusting his glove after the apparent injury, but there isn’t anything to indicate that Goodale kicked the finger right off Pliev’s hand.

The finger appears to have come disconnected during a sequence on the mat later. But Goodale, when asked by Punk to recall what happened, said, “I can’t remember anything.”

After the finger was recovered, Pliev was taken to an area hospital and had it quickly reattached.

Pliev explained to ESPN what happened and said he didn’t want the fight to stop, even though he was down to nine fingers.

“In the second round, he caught my glove with one hand and held it,” Pliev said. “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.”

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