Khetag Pliev was part of one of the craziest viral injury moments in MMA history on Thursday night and plans to return to fulfill his dream of earning a spot on the UFC roster.
In the main CFFC 94 co-event, Pliev faced Devin Goodale in a 180-pound catch weight bout. At the end of the second round, it was discovered that Pliev’s ring finger was no longer sticking out of his glove, which led to one of MMA’s big mysteries so far in 2021. Goodale would officially win the fight via TKO in the second round.
The timing led to much speculation, even leading to a public announcement at 2300 Arena in Philadelphia alerting people in the building to be on the lookout for Pliev’s finger.
In the end, Pliev’s finger was stitched back to his hand and he’s on the mend.
“I’m doing better,” Pliev told MMA Fighting. “I went to the emergency room [room] from this morning’s fight, had a good doctor named Maggie Wilson and she tied my finger back, stitched it up.
“It was stuck to the skin. They cut the glove off, put it back on and now I’m in the cast.
Pliev’s coach Joey Patterson gave his take on what happened in the second round of the bout and revealed that they plan to appeal the loss because Goodale should have been disqualified for grabbing illegally Pliev’s glove, which they claim contributed to the injury.
“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 stuck to the skin and he tried to hide it like nothing had happened so he could keep fighting because he knew if he got into the third round he was going to knock this guy out.
“What happened was Khetag got the withdrawal – and it’s all filmed – and when he got the withdrawal, [Goodale] reaches under and grabs his glove and begins to illegally pull on his glove, causing Khetag’s finger to lodge. Once the finger was lodged and they got back to their feet throwing punches, Khetag got a very hard punch and he threw it. The finger was already bent and stuck in there, causing the finger to break. The finger was not completely cut. There’s a lot of different speculation out there, people saying, “Oh, he lost his finger.” The finger was suspended by a thread, suspended 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 continued, tried to hide it, that’s when the doctors noticed him and had to stop him.
“What we’re going to do is appeal the decision because it should be a disqualification,” Patterson continued. “You are not allowed to put on the glove. In MMA that’s a no-no and if you see the video even the advertisers are saying he’s got his hands on it. He literally hooked himself inside the glove and put his finger in there.
A member of the 2012 Canadian Olympic Wrestling Team, Pliev was 5-1 heading into CFFC 94 and he was hoping that having a great performance on UFC Fight Pass would bring him closer to fulfilling his dream of compete in the UFC Sacred Octagon.
The 37-year-old couldn’t help but feel heartbroken after realizing what happened in the second round on the stool.
“Right in the fray when the guy hung up my glove, I felt my finger snap,” Pliev explained. “I kept trying to pull it off and couldn’t stand up, but realized it was because he was holding my glove, lowering his elbows. I looked up at the ref and said, ‘Hey, what are you going to do? He’s holding my glove.
“He lifted us up and once we got up I knew my finger was hurt somehow. But I knew that if I looked at my finger it would show weakness towards myself, my opponent, the referee and everyone. 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’ve done and I’m missing a finger. I almost started to cry – not for the pain, not for the finger – but I knew the doctor wouldn’t let me continue to fight. I put so much [work in]. I want to go to the UFC. This is my dream. A lot has happened in my life and now something crazy like this is happening.
The next step for Pliev is to take a closer look and see what the next steps in the recovery process will be. Pliev is hopeful that he can return to action and is ready to do whatever it takes to do so.
With the way it all turned out and the attention he received, Pliev is grateful no matter what happened in that cage on Thursday night.
“The Bible says that whatever happens, it happens for a good reason,” Pliev said. “So praise God. About what’s going on right now, this stuff that’s going viral, it’s not in my hands. It’s in the hands of God. I don’t know what’s going on. And if it benefits the CFFC, I have met President Robert [Haydek] and I appreciate that he put me there – and whatever good things come out of it, I’m there, brother.
“Now I have to do something with this hand, fix it and, God willing, I can continue my fight. “