The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is an American mixed martial arts promotion company headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. It organizes events that showcase twelve weight divisions worldwide and is bound by the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. Having held more than 500 events, this sport has not been without its fair share of injuries, some minor and others gruesome. Unfortunately, some of the worst injuries in UFC history have resulted in a long recovering period of competitors.
The UFC fighters are among the highest-paid athletes in the world because they put their lives on the line to entertain us. Typically, a UFC fight has three to five rounds that last five minutes each. Fighters have just three fights in a year, and yet it is worth it that they take home hundreds of thousands of dollars. Has anyone been seriously injured in UFC? Yes, many fighters have suffered irreversible injuries inside the UFC ring.
The worst injuries in UFC
UFC’s broken leg injuries sound like the worst thing that can happen to an athlete, but the sport has witnessed worse. These people take punches to earn a living; hence injuries must be expected. Below are 10 of the most gruesome injuries in the history of UFC:
1. Evangelista Santos – Fractured skull
MMA’s leg break injuries have always been the most dominant but head injuries are also not rare. Santos faced Michael Venom Page in 2016 in London, and the fight came to an end when Page broke his skull. A jumping knee caused the injury after a step in right 'Cyborg'.
Immediately after the impact, it was clear to all present that Santos was feeling great discomfort. This injury made Santos retire from professional mixed martial arts because he never returned to the ring again.
2. Danny Roberts – Head injury
They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but news of Danny Roberts head injury at UFC Vegas 40 spread like wildfire. It was a match against Ramazan Emeev, and even though Roberts won, he was left with a scar to remember.
The wound on the head was caused by a spinning elbow from his opponent that caught him and left a horrific cut. In the end, Roberts needed several stitches to seal the flapping skin over his skull. The cut was so big that one could look right into his head, but luckily, little damage was done, and it did not affect his career.
3. Chris Weidman – Leg break
Chris Weidman’s leg break is among the worst injuries witnessed inside the UFC ring. It happened during UFC 261 in his eagerly-anticipated rematch with Uriah Hall as he suffered the same injury he had earlier inflicted on Silva. His right tibia and fibula shattered 17 seconds into the fight after an outside step check from Hall.
Referee Herb Dean rightly halted the proceedings following Weidman’s collapse when he attempted to put weight on his rear leg. He underwent surgery the following day and has been on course to a speedy recovery. Weidman was back in training just seven weeks after the injury and could make a return soon, making it hard to believe that he is the same person from UFC 261’s leg break video.
4. Alistair Overeem – Lip bust
All sorts of injuries can be expected at UFC, but a bust lip is the last thing you can think of. Alistair's injury happened in a heavyweight battle against Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC on ESPN in December 2019. The fight had progressed from the initial stages to the last few seconds when the horrific injury happened.
As Rozenstuik was running out of time, he blasted Alistair with a ferocious right hand and, in the process, slit open Alistair’s upper lip. This meant that Overeem lost the fight to a TKO. Alistair underwent plastic surgery, and by May 2020, he was back to the octagon and managed a TKO win over Walt Harris.
5. Conor McGregor – Leg break
Conor, a former division champion, has also not been spared from the horrific injuries inside the UFC ring. Conor McGregor’s leg broke as he shattered his left tibia and fibula in the first round of his UFC 264 rubber match against Dustin Poirier. The Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor fight brought together two heavyweights who have been champions before, but unfortunately, fans were not treated to the fight they had anticipated.
McGregor's leg broke in the final seconds of the first round after the two had exchanged crosses, but it is not clear what caused the leg to break. After McGregor’s fight, he had to undergo extensive rehabilitation since the injury and will make a return to the ring after full recovery.
6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk – Head swelling
You would be mistaken by thinking that UFC injuries are a reserve of male athletes only. Women fighters have also experienced some nasty injuries, as with Joanna Jedrzejczyk. In March of 2020, the fighter suffered one of the nastiest head swellings the sport had witnessed in a UFC 248 fight against Zhang Weili.
This was a fight of epic proportions as both fights inflicted an insane amount of damage on one another. It had gone all the way to the fourth round when Jedrzejczyk's forehead swelled enormously. A hematoma injury caused the swelling after a flurry of punches on the head. She lost the fight but recovered after undergoing plastic surgery.
7. Anderson Silva – Leg break
UFC 168 was the event that would result in Anderson Silva’s leg injury. It is probably one of the most famous injuries of the sport, and it happened in a rematch with Chris Weidman. It had just happened five months after Weidman's shock win of the UFC middleweight title as Silva's showboating had cost him dearly the first time.
Anderson Silva’s leg snapped and broke as he attempted to kick Chris Weidman, but the latter blocked in time to inflict the injury. This saw Weidman successfully defend his title for the first time. The leg break was horrific, and Silva recoiled on the ground in deep agony. Weidman celebrated his win as the fight was immediately halted, but it started a long absence to focus on recovering Silva.
8. Leslie Smith – Ear tear
Mexico City hosted the 2014 bantamweight division fight that saw Leslie Smith face Jessica Eye. Both fighters seemed to have a chance of winning in the first round, but things changed in the second. Eye managed to land a nasty right hook on Smith's left ear, and the damage was immediately apparent. The ear exploded with blood gushing to the ground.
Images of her torn ear were not a sight to enjoy watching. Unfortunately, Herb Dean was the referee, and he was forced to put an end to the fight for Smith to receive medical attention. She remained absent from the UFC scene for over a year but made her return in March 2016.
9. Jay Hieron – Split forehead
What was the bloodiest UFC fight ever? If there is a fight worthy of being said to be the bloodiest ever in it, the one of Jonathan Goulet vs Jay Hieron. While the two fighters never achieved any noticeable success in the ring, their fight made some history in 2005, as it turned out to be the bloodiest sport. Things had started well in the first round as it ended with no bloodshed, but there was a twist in the second round.
Just 3o seconds into the second round, Goulet landed a knee on Hieron's forehead, making it split. A doctor quickly checked him, and the match was allowed to continue. However, Hieron continued to bleed profusely, and as the blood dripped on Goulet, both fighters ended up being covered in the blood.
10. Matt Mitrione – Eye and shoulder injuries
Has there been any deaths in UFC? No. However, there have been several deaths in the MMA sport. However, injuries like Mitrione's have not been very fatal because UFC works closely with state athletic commissions to ensure the safety of fighters. Mitrione had come into the fight, having won nine and lost four matches.
By the end of the fight, he had lost five fights, but with this one, he left with a lot of proof that he had taken a beating from Travis Browne. His right eye was swollen the size of an egg, and it kept getting bigger. In addition, Mitrione dislocated his shoulder in the same fight until his bone was about to tear through the skin.
At UFC, a fight cannot be a fight if one or both contestants have not shed blood. Shedding blood is a minor thing in this sport because fighters do what it takes to be winners. The worst injuries in UFC are a sight no one would enjoy watching. That is why the sport is not an affair for the faint-hearted but a thriving ground for bold men and women who don’t mind a few punches as long as they earn big bucks.
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