Canadian MMA fighter Khetag Pliev began his fight against Devin Goodale on Thursday night with 10 fingers, as almost every fighter begins almost every fight, but he ended it with nine. Fans in attendance for Cage Fury FC 94 in Philadelphia got to witness the first win by TKO – (Detached Finger) in promotion history, as the fight ended between the second and third rounds when someone in Pliev’s corner pointed to where his left ring finger used to be and was, presumably, like “Where’d that one go?” Nobody knew where the digit was at the time, but it was very clear that it was not where it was supposed to be (on his hand).
While the exact circumstances of the detachment are not yet clear, the two fighters spent a good chunk of the second round grappling, and it seems a glove grab from Goodale may have began the ignominious sequence. “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. “
CM Punk, who was commentating the fight on UFC Fight Pass, asked Goodale what was up with the whole finger loss thing and Goodale said he couldn’t remember, since he’d also been punched in the head a bunch before the incident. Fair enough. Officials scoured the cage and couldn’t find the finger, and the PA announcer even asked fans to look around their seats and see if they could find it.
I am going to now post a tweet that shows a picture of Pliev’s left hand. Scroll by if you don’t want to see it.
You know what they say about fingers: They’re always in the last place you look, and indeed, Pliev’s missing digit was eventually located inside his glove, where it had been hiding all along, the little rascal.
Pliev went to the hospital for reattachment surgery, which seems to have gone well. He told ESPN he might need another surgery to get all the tendons lined up, but he posted a photo from the hospital and shouted out the doctor who made him whole again.
Pliev will appeal the result, which seems fair to me. I think you can get some leeway when you end a fight down 10 percent of your fingers.