(Warning: Post contains video and images of graphic injury)
One of the most bizarre injuries in combat sports history appeared to take place at CFFC 94 on Thursday.
Middleweight Khetag Pliev appeared to lose a finger in the middle of his co-main event bout with Devin Goodale. The injury was noticed in between the second and third round, with commentators John Morgan and CM Punk almost at a loss for words to describe what they were seeing.
After some speculation, the commentators concluded that Pliev’s ring finger had somehow become detached from his hand.
It’s unclear how the injury might have occurred and at what point Pliev’s digit separated from the rest of his body. The fighters engaged in a prolonged grappling sequence against the fence in round two and Pliev appeared to complain about opponent Devin Goodale holding onto his glove, which drew a warning from the referee. But otherwise, none of the parties in the cage noticed if Pliev’s finger was missing.
Goodale, who officially won by TKO at the 5:00 mark of round two, was just as confused as everyone else when interviewed after the fight.
“I can’t remember anything, I don’t know,” Goodale said. “I got hit by something apparently—I don’t remember what happened.”
A public announcement was then made at the venue alerting those present that the search was on for Pliev’s finger.
They just made a PA announcement at #CFFC94 that they are trying to locate a fighter’s missing finger.
It evidently fell off into his glove during the bout and is missing somewhere in the venue.
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) April 2, 2021
After further deliberation, Punk was still unable to make sense of the situation, only confirming that as far as anyone knows, Pliev’s finger is gone.
“I don’t understand exactly what happened,” Punk said on the broadcast. “We’re not gonna replay it for you, ladies and gentlemen, but it wasn’t a compound fracture. It wasn’t a dislocation, a break, a laceration. His finger was just gone. It’s gone. It fell off, ripped off.”
A request for comment sent to Pennsylvania commission executive director Greg Sirb was not immediately returned.
At the conclusion of Thursday’s broadcast, CFFC President Rob Haydek addressed the incident.
“How bizarre was that,” Haydek said. “When the fight ended, I heard. I was at cageside, obviously. I went inside and they were like, ‘His finger’s missing.’ I was like, ‘I understand it’s April Fool’s day…’ And then I look down and it literally was just bone.”
“It dislodged,” Haydek continued. “It disconnected. My first question to him was, ‘Where’s the finger?’ We thought it was outside the cage, we had no idea, and they’re saying it’s actually inside the glove. So how does that happen if he’s pulling the finger out? So I’m anxious to see the video, play it back multiple times from different camera angles, and really see what happened there because that is absolutely bizarre.”
Haydek shared an even more graphic image of the injury on Instagram:
CFFC 94 aired live on UFC Fight Pass.
UPDATE (4/2/21, 12:18 a.m.): Pliev told ESPN that the finger was found and reattached.