It is a curious fact about human psychology that we can’t help but gawp at the abnormal, even if it makes us want to regurgitate our lunch.
And so it is with MMA injuries.
They seem to have a hypnotic quality. Then again, once the initial shock wears off, we tend to respond to subsequent replays of the injury by squirming in our seats and gasping obscenities—at least I do, anyway.
When one thinks of injuries, images of broken bones tend to come to mind. However, this list is going to focus more broadly on injuries in general, rather than concentrating on snapped limbs.
As ever, feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments.
Without further delay, I present to you seven MMA injuries you’ll never be able to unsee.
Note: Images NSFW.
After Jon Jones’ swift destruction of Chael Sonnen at UFC 159, most of us thought we were in for the usual post-fight platitudes.
This prediction appeared sound right up until Joe Rogan pointed out to the UFC light heavyweight champion that his big toe was hanging off at a right angle.
Catching sight of the mangled digit, Jones momentarily went a little pale.
As he sat down to receive treatment, the champ began to shiver, as if Rogan had just dumped a bucket of ice water over him. He looked to be in a state of shock—if we were in shock at the sight of his injury, imagine how he must have felt.
Fortunately, the injury didn’t turn out to be as serious as we initially feared. But it looked gruesome, right?
When Marcus Davis entered the UFC cage to face Nate Diaz at UFC 118, no one imagined that the former pro boxer was about to be given a lesson in pugilism by Stockton’s finest. We figured that he would at least hold his own, despite the reach disadvantage.
Not so much, it turns out.
Diaz proceeded to batter Davis in front of his home crowd while taunting him like the most obnoxious schoolyard bully you’ve ever seen.
Red-headed stepchildren in attendance could be heard remarking, “Boy, he is really taking a beating.”
By fight’s end, Davis’ face was so swollen that he looked like he was suffering from lionitis.
Most of you are probably wondering who Joey Diehl is.
By this point, you probably have his forehead burned into your memory after gazing at the cut he suffered in a flyweight title bout against Josh Epps at XFO 41.
I know what you’re thinking: “Poor guy. He lost his chance at winning a title because of a freak injury.”
No, no. You don't seem to understand. He was allowed to continue and actually won via submission.
Kim Winslow must have been on duty that night.
Now, here is a fighter who isn't deterred by the sight of his own blood. Then again, if the ringside doctor had handed him a mirror, he may have sprinted out of the cage like Forrest Griffin after a bad night at the office.
Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate was one of the most significant moments in the history of women’s MMA. Most of you have no doubt seen the fight multiple times.
However, even more of you have probably watched GIFs of the fight-ending sequence.
After a back-and-forth contest, Rousey secured her trademark armbar and immediately started cranking on Tate’s arm, undeterred by the elbow joint’s limited range of motion.
As the former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champ lay grimacing, refusing to tap, Rousey worked the arm until Tate could take no more.
When “Cupcake” finally, mercifully, cried uncle, the angle of her broken arm made it look like she had made an ill-fated attempt at the robot.
Even Frank Mir probably thought, “That’s a little too graphic for my taste.”
When Frank Mir rematched “Minotauro” Nogueira at UFC 140, no one expected the fight to end the way it did.
As proficient as Mir is on the ground, it seemed inconceivable that Nogueira could lose via submission.
But that’s exactly what happened.
After rocking Frank Mir midway through the opening round, Minotauro attempted to secure a guillotine choke to put a bow on what had been, until that point, a vintage display.
Unfortunately for the Pride legend, Mir reversed the position and secured a kimura. As Nogueira fought the hold, both fighters rolled to the centre of the cage, where Mir snapped the arm like a twig.
Multiple replays of the fight-ending sequence didn’t dull the impact of seeing the Brazilian staring at his dangling arm, looking almost perplexed by what had occurred.
Mir, for his part, was his usual dispassionate self. In most other contexts, the look on his face could have been mistaken for boredom.
It was an unforgettable moment not just because of the hideous injury that ended the fight but also because of the technique on display by both fighters.
Marvin Eastman’s bout with Vitor Belfort at UFC 43 was always destined to be a mismatch. And it didn’t take long for Belfort to highlight the gulf that existed between them, when he finished the overmatched Eastman in just over a minute.
When Eastman regained his senses and emerged from the canvas, we all looked on in astonishment at the cavernous gash displayed on his forehead.
Immediately, we began to wonder whether Belfort had somehow managed to sneak a sword into the cage or perhaps boasted a pair of retractable adamantium claws.
As it turns out, a simple knee to the forehead is sufficient to create a wound that Oda Nobunaga would have been proud of.
We all remember Corey Hill from the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He was the endearingly boisterous novice who had managed to sneak onto the show despite having no professional MMA experience.
Many of you probably also remember him for his fateful 2008 bout with Dale Hartt at UFC Fight Night 16.
The bout itself didn’t draw much attention. That is, until Hartt checked a leg kick early in the second round.
The impact of shin-on-shin fractured Hill’s right leg, turning it into a figurative noodle.
As the TUF veteran’s tibia flopped around like the pant leg of a rubber suit, MMA fans around the world dry-heaved in unison.
As often seems to be the case when such injuries occur, the victim appeared to be the least concerned individual in attendance. One could probably put this fact down to shock.
Hill lay on the mat, looking at his leg while doing his best Mir face, while the rest of us watched replays through the veil of our fingers.
It was a startling reminder of how dangerous this sport can be, if for some reason we needed it.