Over the past ten years of UFC fighting, there have been some truly insane injuries sustained in the ring.
Broken noses, blood spurting out of ears (Leslie Smith V. Jessica Eye, anyone?) — it’s been quite the decade for the UFC and combat sports in general. And what better way to celebrate the history that made us and the blood shed on the path to glory than with a countdown of the most brutal injuries from the past decade of UFC fighting? Here are our top picks for the fights that made us cover our eyes and wince the most:
4. UFC 244: Jorge Masvidal v. Nate Diaz Eye Injury Stoppage
While not the bloodiest or goriest injury per se, the cut Jorge Masvidal landed on Nate Diaz’s right eye at UFC 244 was enough to have a concerned doctor calling off the match. What’s horrible here isn’t what did happen but what could have — doctors in the post-fight analysis confirmed that they were afraid Nate Diaz would lose his right eye if he was hit again, or, as one doctor explained to Bloody Elbow: “The risk here…is it really could progress to a point where [Diaz’s] eyelid skin could kind of completely just fall forward [off of the eye socket.]” Not a pretty picture to imagine. While it was a bit of a letdown for fans that a much-anticipated fight like Masvidal v. Diaz ended in such an anticlimactic way, it’s always better safe than sorry. Dana White later shared some shocking footage of how many stitches it took to close such a deep cut:
3. UFC 189: Rory MacDonald’s Nose Detaches from Face
This was one particularly brutal injury that was hard to keep track of during the fight itself. MacDonald took a bad beating from Robbie Lawler and didn’t recover. His face was so badly swollen and bruised it was kind of impossible to say what was going on there or if there was even a human face left underneath it all. However, when the dust finally settled, MacDonald took his x-rays to Instagram to prove definitively that the fight was as bad as it looked: MacDonald’s nose had partially detached from his skull after so many hits to the face. Probably not the way he wanted that fight to go, but he had a good sense of humor about it.
broken nose broken foot but ill be back pic.twitter.com/KAakEC0qTh
— Rory MacDonald (@rory_macdonald) July 12, 2015
2. UFC 43: So Long, Marvin Eastman’s Eyebrow, And Thanks for All the Fish
Although Wikipedia’s claim that “this is the biggest cut in UFC history” is completely unsourced, I have no trouble believing it. Vitor Belfort defeated Marvin Eastman with an equal parts terrifying and inspiring drop-kick, the kind of thing you wouldn’t expect to see outside of an active war zone. And the results were disturbing: a massive gash across Marvin Eastman’s face. His eyebrow was completely gone. So sad. Hopefully Eastman can still emote after such a tragic accident in the ring.
1. Fight Night 81: Matt Mitrione Shatters Orbital Bone
It’s not as eye-catching as the gash at our number two spot, but when Matt Mitrione shattered his orbital bone at Fight Night 81, it made an impression none of us would soon forget. A lot of these guys come pretty close to losing their eyes in these fights and Matt was no exception. The massive swelling that erupted above his eye in this fight was enough to make even the most veteran MMA fan lose their appetite. Feel free to stop scrolling if you have a queasy stomach.
Not a photoshop. Matt Mitrione's eye. Dear god. pic.twitter.com/k2ynm2ZoWP
— Troy Machir (@TroyMachir) January 18, 2016