MMA fighter Khetag Pliev had to have a finger surgically reattached after it was severed during the second round of a fight Thursday night in Philadelphia.
The fight, which was part of an event put on by Cage Fury Fighting Championship and aired on UFC Fight Pass, was stopped when the referee noticed Pliev was missing his left ring finger.
For several minutes, those in the venue were searching for the stray digit. Event promoter Rob Haydak said officials looked all around the cage, and there was even an announcement over the PA system asking people to look for it inside 2300 Arena.
Haydak said it was ultimately discovered that the finger had come off and was lodged inside Pliev’s glove all along.
Pliev told ESPN that he was taken to the emergency room and that the finger was reattached. He said the doctor told him he tore 50% of the tendon on the finger and that he’ll potentially need another procedure.
His opponent, Devin Goodale, was ruled the winner by TKO.
Haydak said he entered the cage after the fight was stopped, and Pliev told him that the finger was dislocated in the first round and somehow came completely off in the second. It was unclear on the broadcast how exactly that occurred.
Pliev said Goodale kept holding his glove, which might have led to the finger detaching.
“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. “
Pliev said he will appeal the fight result with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission because of the illegal grabbing of his gloves by Goodale during the bout.
Haydak said CFFC will be going through the footage with the hope of airing exactly what happened on the promotion’s card Friday night on Fight Pass. “It was a surreal moment,” Haydak said. “I said, ‘Wait a second, where the f— is his finger?’ They were all like, ‘I don’t know.'”
Haydak said Pliev wanted to continue fighting and he actually stayed in the cage for the ring announcer to read the result.
“It was crazy,” Haydak said. “He didn’t even flinch. He was getting ready to do the [official] decision and I was like, ‘Uh, guys, get him out of the cage and go put his finger back on.'”
Pliev, 37, is a Russia native who competed in the 2012 Olympics as a wrestler for Canada. He was 5-1 in MMA coming into the 180-pound catchweight fight Thursday.