Khetag Pliev is a shining example of how tough MMA fighters are. Undoubtedly, being a fighter is an insane way of making a living. But, how does losing your finger mid-fight sound?
In the co-main event of CFFC 94, Pliev and those in attendance had a night they would never forget. In a 180 pounds catchweight bout with Devin Goodale, all seemed regular until the end of the second round. After some confusion, there was a public announcement at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia for everyone to keep their eyes out for…Pliev’s finger?
“I’m doing better,” Pliev told MMA Fighting. “I went to the emergency [room] from the fight this morning, had a good doctor named Maggie Wilson and she attached my finger back, sewed it back.
“It was hanging on the skin. They cut the glove off, put it back and now I’m in the cast.”
When Pliev returned to his stool, his ring finger was no longer sticking out of his glove. Believing some illegal glove holding led to the injury, Pliev’s team are campaigning for the second-round TKO ruling to be changed to a disqualification win for Pliev. After the initial horror, Pliev’s finger was discovered and has been since sewn back on.
“I want to let you know that you were just talking to one of the toughest MMA fighters on the planet,” Patterson said. “This guy’s finger was hanging by skin and he tried to hide it like nothing was going on so he could continue to fight because he knew that if it went into the third round, he was gonna knock this guy out.
“What happened was Khetag got the takedown—and this is all on film—and when he has the takedown, [Goodale] reaches under and grabs his glove and starts pulling illegally on his glove, causing Khetag’s finger to lodge. Once the finger lodged and they came back up to their feet throwing punches, Khetag has a very hard punch and he threw it. The finger was already bent and caught in there, it caused the finger to sever. The finger didn’t completely sever. There’s a lot of different speculation out there, people saying, ‘Oh, he lost his finger.’ The finger was hanging by a thread, hanging by the skin, but it was lodged inside the glove.
“At that point he finished the round, came back, and didn’t say anything. He kept at it, tried to hide it, that’s when the doctors noticed it and had to stop it.”
“What we’re going to do is appeal the decision because it should be a disqualification,” Patterson continued. “You’re not allowed to pull on the glove. In MMA, that’s a no-no and if you see the video, even the announcers are saying he has his hands inside of his glove. He literally hooked inside the glove and caused his finger to get lodged in there.”
Pliev was part of the 2012 Canadian Olympic wrestling team. With such talents, it’s not surprising that Pliev is aiming to one day join the UFC roster. Putting on an impressive performance on UFC Fight Pass would undoubtedly take Pliev one step closer to realising his dream. So, it’s understandable that Pliev was devastated with how things turned out.
“Right in the scramble when the guy hooked my glove, I felt my finger snap,” Pliev explained. “I kept trying to pull it out and I could not stand, but then I realized it was because he was holding my glove, dropping down elbows. I looked up to the ref and said, ‘Hey, what are you gonna do? He’s holding my glove.’
“He got us up and once we got up I knew my finger was hurt, somehow. But I knew if I looked at my finger, it would show weakness to myself, to my opponent, to the ref and everyone else. I knew I had to keep fighting and that’s what I did.
“When I finished the round, I sat down and looked at my finger, it was gone. I couldn’t see my finger because it was in the glove. And I just thought, man, all this work I put in and I get a missing finger. I almost started crying—not for the pain, not for the finger—but I knew the doctor wasn’t gonna let me keep fighting. I’ve put so much [work in]. I want to make it to the UFC. That is my dream. A lot has happened in my life and now something crazy like this happens.”
The priority is getting back to full health. However, in an unexpected turn of events, the injury could end up benefiting Pliev’s career. In the world of MMA being the centre of attention can help your career out tremendously.
“The bible says whatever happens, happens for a good reason,” Pliev stated. “So praise God. About what’s happening right now, this thing going viral, that’s not in my hands. That’s in God’s hands. I don’t know what’s happening. And if it benefits CFFC—I met the president Robert [Haydek] and I appreciate him putting me there—and whatever good things come out of it, I’m in, brother.
“Now I have to do something with this hand, fix it and, God willing, I can continue with my fighting.”
Do you think we will one day see Khetag Pliev in the UFC one day?