‘He tried to hide it’: MMA fighter who lost finger wanted to go on despite severing digit via punch that left it ‘hanging by skin’

The grisly injury suffered by Khetag Pliev in an MMA fight this week certainly wasn’t one for the squeamish – but his coach says that the former Olympian still wanted to push for a fight-winning KO despite losing his finger.

Pliev suffered the nasty injury during his fight with Devin Goodale in the co-main event of the recent CFFC 94 fight card in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – only noticing that he was missing his left ring finger when he sat on his stool before the third round, prompting the ring announcer to make one of more unusual calls of his career when he implored the cageside audience to help search for the severed digit. 

Ultimately, Pliev’s finger was located neatly wedged inside of his glove and subsequently reattached to his hand.

I’m doing better,” he confirmed to 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.

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It was hanging on by the skin. They cut the glove off, put it back and now I’m in the cast.”

For what would most likely be a life-changing incident for anyone who, well, doesn’t fight other trained athletes inside of a cage for a living, Pliev’s coach, Joey Patterson, said that it was just another day at the office for someone he describes as one of the sport’s “toughest” competitors. 

I want to let you know that you were just talking to one of the toughest MMA fighters on the planet,” Patterson enthused.

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.

Warning: graphic video

And as for how exactly a mixed martial arts fighter’s finger can become almost entirely detached during a fist fight? 

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,” Patterson explained.

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.”

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From Pliev’s own perspective, he says he felt his finger “snap” after he believes Goodale illegally hooked his glove. While the pain was immediate and intense, he says that he didn’t want to show any signs of weakness to his opponent or the referee.

[The referee] got us up and once we got up I knew my finger was hurt, somehow,” he said. “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 going to 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.”

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