Khetag Pliev Loses Finger at CFFC 94, Has Emergency Surgery for Reattachment

By Jay Pettry Apr 2, 2021
Just when you think you’ve seen it all in the great sport of MMA, something new happens – and on April Fools’ Day, no less.

On Thursday night, the first event in a doubleheader for Cage Fury Fighting Championships took place in Philadelphia titled CFFC 94. The event was capped off by a thrilling welterweight championship clash between Evan Cutts and Bassil Hafez, where it became the first bout in the organization’s history to reach the fifth round – CFFC title fights are four-round affairs, with the possibility for a fifth should it be tied up. Even though this was a historic occasion, the biggest story was not about the championship showdown, the omoplata that occurred earlier in the night or the other fun fights on the card. The most noteworthy was that a fighter lost a finger.

The co-headliner saw undefeated Devin Goodale square off against 2012 Olympic wrestler Khetag Pliev in a 180-pound catchweight contest. The two battled it out for ten hard-fought minutes, and at the end of the second frame, Pliev looked pained and frustrated, while looking down at his left hand. The fight was halted by the doctor and referee David Osaghae, but everyone involved was immediately confused at the stoppage, including the victor. Goodale later noted in his brief post-fight interview that he did not know what had transpired.

The commentary booth had noted that the fight had been called off, and that Pliev had suffered a hand injury while speculating it could have been a broken hand or other kind of similar injury. When the camera finally panned over Pliev’s corner from an overhead angle, and they could see the damage, the scene took a turn for the macabre.


“Oh my god,” play-by-play commentator and veteran MMA journalist John Morgan remarked. Color commentator Phil Brooks stammered a response of a confused “What?” when seeing that Pliev only showed four fingers on his left hand. “Is the finger gone,” Morgan asked, “What am I seeing here?”

The two play-callers sat in stunned silence, as did much of the MMA community, when Pliev was minus one finger. “Where is his finger,” Brooks – also known as “CM Punk” –confusedly queried. Morgan countered with, “is his finger gone? I am speechless right here, I don’t know if I’m seeing what I thought I saw, that is not something you see every day. Unbelievable. And Pliev has a lot less panic on his face than I certainly would, you see Goodale…”

Brooks interjected, “I just got 100 percent word, his finger fell off. And I don’t know…it’s gone…where is it? Does a fan have a lucky souvenir, or did we locate the finger?”

The finger was not ejected from the cage, it did not fly into the stands or through the floor like a few mouthpieces in the Ultimate Fighting Championship have of late. Instead, it bent all the way back into Pliev’s glove, and was lodged in it while barely attached by the skin – the bone was cleanly broken.

“I mean, that’s one of the most bizarre scenes I’ve ever seen, unbelievable,” Morgan said while still shocked.

After the bout, and after medical staff placed Vaseline on the open wound and ice on the damaged hand, Pliev was rushed to the hospital to have it reattached. The emergency surgery proved to be a success, and Pliev sent a photograph to ESPN to show that his finger was attached once more. Pliev was reportedly in good spirits, while irritated that the fight was stopped as he was willing to continue fighting with just nine fingers. The official ruling on Sherdog Fight Finder is that Goodale won by technical knockout due to a detached finger.


On Friday morning, Pliev posted a picture from the hospital on his Instagram. In his caption, he wrote the following:

"My family, friends and fans.

From the debts of my heart, you and God are my soul motivation! And to me you are all one and the same!!! To the hundreds of you I apologize I'm unable to respond individually but I wanted to let you know that I am ok. Finger is back in place. Love you all! God bless you all, and this fight is not over yet. Dr. Maggie Wilson did a job."


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