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5 of the worst injuries in MMA history

Scott Newman
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Anderson Silva's leg break was one of the worst injuries in MMA history
Anderson Silva's leg break was one of the worst injuries in MMA history

Despite deaths in the cage or ring thankfully being at a low number – 5 deaths have been recorded in sanctioned MMA bouts with a further 9 in non-sanctioned matches – that doesn’t mean that MMA is a totally safe sport that doesn’t entail plenty of risks.

Even at the highest level of MMA, we’ve seen some extremely graphic and painful-looking injuries occur that have left fighters not only out of action for some time, but on the wrong end of a bad loss, too.

Whether it’s a nasty cut or a broken bone, graphic injuries are part and parcel of MMA – and in some weird way, they’re also fascinating to the fans. Here are 5 of the worst injuries in MMA history.

#1 Jon Jones almost loses his big toe

One of the most dominant champions in UFC history, after winning the Light-Heavyweight title in 2011, Jon Jones made a record number of successful defences with 8, and only relinquished his title when he was stripped following criminal charges in 2015.

It’s to his credit that the closest he came to losing the belt inside the Octagon was via a freakish injury in what would normally have been a routine title defence.

Jones’s title fight against challenger Chael Sonnen was given a massive build-up – a season of The Ultimate Fighter was devoted to it – but when the clash finally came around in April 2013, it was clear that Sonnen was wildly overmatched.

The champion took the former Middleweight down with ease and began to work from the top, and it hardly surprised anyone when the referee was forced to call the fight off in Jones’s favour towards the end of the first round.

It was only after the fight was over that a truly sick injury was revealed. During the post-fight interview, Joe Rogan pointed out that Jones had suffered a badly broken big toe on his left foot. The injury was so bad that the toe appeared to be almost hanging off, a disgusting visual for the fans to witness.


Upon the injury being pointed out, Jones immediately had to request a stool to sit on, the adrenaline from the fight clearly beginning to wear off. Soon after, the interview was cut off and he was taken on a trip to the hospital.

Wildly enough, despite the fight being one-sided in Jones’s favour, had referee Keith Peterson spotted the injury, Sonnen would’ve actually won the title. The fact that the injury went unnoticed was a huge stroke of luck for the longtime champion.

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