10 Worst Injuries That UFC Fighters Have Pushed Through
It's common knowledge that fighters have extraordinary pain tolerances. They take brutal punches to the jaw, feel their eye sockets buckle under the force of elbows, get their joints wrenched and often do it all without a change in facial expression.
But a few fighters go above and beyond in this department. They shrug off injuries that would stop 90 percent of their peers and sometimes even go on to win in spite of being at a huge disadvantage.
Honorable Mention: Rory Markham's Collapsed Lung Against Dan Hardy
Cutting weight is a standard part of a mixed martial artist's job description. But that doesn't mean it can't get out of hand. In the UFC 95 post-fight exam, Rory Markham's doctor thought he noticed something strange about his patient's chest. An x-ray revealed that Markham had fought Dan Hardy with a collapsed lung. Markham only knew that it was a rough weight cut and that his body had cramped up at the weigh-in. It's incredible that he pushed through this excruciating pain just for the sake of competing.
Why isn't this in the top ten? There are varying degrees of lung collapse and Markham never specified the severity of his. A small lung collapse, while still very serious, would not match the injuries that made it to the top ten.
No. 10: Rich Franklin's Broken Forearm Against Chuck Liddell
So what if blocking your opponent's roundhouse kick leads to a broken arm? Just knock him out with your good arm!
That's exactly what Rich Franklin did at UFC 115. Chuck Liddell being past his prime and having a weak chin by then is the only reason this isn't ranked higher.
No. 9: Junior dos Santos' Torn Meniscus Against Cain Velasquez
The No. 1 title contender is rarely set in stone. Lyoto Machida cut to the front of the line when Rashad Evans became injured. Junior dos Santos would have suffered a similar fate if he had pulled out for his torn meniscus. The winner of Overeem versus Lesnar would have more momentum and marketability than someone coming back from knee surgery.
Dos Santos may have been on crutches a week before the fight. But he still wasn't about to miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. His gamble paid off when he dethroned champion Cain Velasquez in just a minute of action. The only reason this isn't ranked higher is because of how conveniently short the fight was.
No. 8: Tim Sylvia's Snapped Elbow Against Frank Mir
While defending his heavyweight crown, Tim Sylvia got caught in an armbar that appeared to snap his arm. Instead of begging the referee to stop the fight, he insisted that he was okay and even high-fived fans to prove it.
Fortunately, referee Herb Dean would have none of it. A hospital x-ray revealed breaks in four different locations. A few weeks later, Sylvia tried his hand at a dating show and casually joked about the injury.
No. 7: Randy Couture's Broken Forearm Against Gabriel Gonzaga
Gabriel Gonzaga is a scary man. He proved his striking by knocking out Mirko Filipovic with the latter's trademark high kick. His grappling status as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion was indisputable. Many thought that Randy Couture was in for a beatdown.
Gonzaga's powerful kick did result in breaking Couture's forearm. But that wasn't enough to take care of business as Couture used his Greco-Roman wrestling to take him down, control him from the top and force a technical knockout by ground-and-pound.
Don't you need two intact arms to wrestle and punch?
No. 6: Matt Hughes' Kneed Groin Against Frank Trigg
Accidental knees to the groin are a common occurrence in UFC bouts. The referee gives the victim some time to recover and then business resumes as usual.
It wasn't such a walk in the park for Matt Hughes. First of all, the referee didn't notice what had transpired. To make matters worse, his opponent tagged him with punches as he tried to signal the referee. He soon found himself on the floor and about to be choked out.
In one of the greatest comebacks of mixed martial arts history, Hughes' opponent found himself losing hold of his victim, being lifted up, carried across the Octagon, slammed on his back and choked out.
No. 5: Demetrious Johnson's Broken Fibula Against Miguel Torres
A broken leg from a checked kick is by no means unheard of in kickboxing and mixed martial arts. However, to deal with that for almost two rounds, outwrestle your opponent and pick up a unanimous decision is pretty impressive.
It's even more amazing when said opponent is former WEC champion Miguel Torres.
No. 4: Chuck Liddell's Torn MCL Against Tito Ortiz
It has recently been reported that the UFC is "plagued with injuries." Media analysts, reporters and fans have questioned whether some of the minor injuries would truly warrant withdrawing from a fight.
Liddell suffered a torn MCL prior to his second bout with Tito Ortiz. Nobody would label him a coward for withdrawing from an injury of this magnitude. Yet, he still chose to fight and knocked out Ortiz for the second time.
No. 3: GSP's Blinded Eye Against Jake Shields
Legend has it that the Spartans boycotted the Olympic games when eye-gouging was banned from pankration. On the other hand, modern mixed martial arts is an organized sport and tries to avoid inflicting permanent injuries.
At UFC 129, Jake Shields poked Georges St-Pierre square in the eye. Despite being nearly blind in one eye, the reigning champion managed to grind out a decision victory.
No. 2: Shane Carwin's Loss of Vision Against Junior Dos Santos
Following a lopsided defeat to Junior dos Santos, Shane Carwin revealed that he was nearly blind going into Round 3. Cuts had forced blood to continuously roll over his eyes. He faked being okay when the ringside doctor examined him. Carwin's rationale, given via Twitter, was that "I knew I was in deep trouble, but I also knew that all I needed was one clean shot."
This is reminiscent of the "Thrilla in Manila." Decades after the legendary bout, sports analysts and writers remain divided on what the outcome would have been if Joe Frazier had come out for the last round.
Frazier was legally blind in his left eye from an old training accident, and his right eye was nearly swollen shut from Ali's punches. His trainer, Eddie Futch, humanely chose to throw in the towel.
No. 1: Ben Rothwell's Torn ACL Against Gilbert Yvel
It's anatomically possible to stand and walk with a torn ACL. However, it's nearly impossible to do athletic movements. Furthermore, the pain would be astronomical until medical attention arrived.
But Ben Rothwell defies human norms. He had the misfortune of tearing his ACL in the first takedown he attempted on Gilbert Yvel. Instead of writhing in pain like any other human being would have, he proceeded to fight three full rounds and win by unanimous decision.