Jim Hettes’ evening came to what he felt was a premature ending at UFC on Fox 15 when his bout with Diego Brandao was halted by a cageside physician after the first round.
The fight was stopped because Hettes’ ear was badly cut and bleeding as a result of a Brandao elbow landed in the first frame. While Hettes’ injury wasn’t a pretty sight, it didn’t appear to be nearly as bad as, say, when Leslie Smith’s ear split in half in a loss against Jessica Eye at UFC 180.
After his pleas with the cageside doctor went unanswered, Hettes punched the cage post several times in frustration. The Pennsylvania native said he would have been willing to continue fighting no matter what kind of long-term damage might have occurred.
“If you can see my cauliflower made it pretty ugly to begin with, so I don’t mind if it fell off,” Hettes told UFC commentator Joe Rogan during a post-fight interview. “I thought the doctor was joking when he said it was over. I couldn’t believe it, and here we are.”
Brandao, who was victorious for the first time since August 2013, thought the stoppage was just.
“I thought the judge called it right. His ear looked bad. [It] was the result of an elbow I threw early in the round,” Brandao said. “I was ready to continue, wanted to continue, but I think it was the right call. It didn't finish the way I wanted. I really wanted a knockout. No pressure on this fight. I was just really excited and now happy I got the win.”
Bradao likely won an entertaining opening frame on the strength of his grappling, but according to Hettes, everything was going as expected.
“We practiced tirelessly to keep Diego busy in the first round. He’s an excellent fighter, but he tends to kind of gas out in the first,” said Hettes, who has lost two straight in the Octagon. “So the first round went just as we planned. It was back and forth. The second and third rounds I was planning on opening up, but I guess everything happens for a reason.”