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Khetag Pliev explains horrific finger injury at CFFC 94, vows to return and make UFC run

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Khetag Pliev was part of one of the craziest viral injury moments in MMA history on Thursday night and plans to come back to accomplish his dream of earning a UFC roster spot.

In the co-main event of CFFC 94, Pliev took on Devin Goodale in a catchweight bout at 180 pounds. At the end of the second round, it was discovered that Pliev’s ring finger was no longer sticking out of his glove, leading to one of the big mysteries in MMA thus far in 2021. Goodale would officially win the bout via second-round TKO.

The moment led to a lot of speculation, even leading to a public announcement at the 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 sewn back to his hand and he is on the road to recovery.

“I’m doing better,” Pliev told 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.

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

Pliev’s coach Joey Patterson gave his perspective 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 illegally grabbing Pliev’s glove, which they believe 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 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.

“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. 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.”

“What we’re going to do is appeal the decision because it should be a disqualification,” Patterson continued. “You’re not allowed to pull on the glove. In MMA, that’s a no-no and if you see the video, even the announcers are saying he has his hands inside of his glove. He literally hooked inside the glove and caused his finger to get lodged in there.”

A member of the 2012 Canadian Olympic wrestling team, Pliev was 5-1 heading into CFFC 94 and he hoped that having a great performance on UFC Fight Pass would bring him one step closer to accomplishing his dream of competing inside the hallowed UFC octagon.

The 37-year-old couldn’t help but be heartbroken after realizing what happened in the second round on the stool.

“Right in the scramble when the guy hooked my glove, I felt my finger snap,” Pliev explained. “I kept trying to pull it out and I could not stand, but then I realized it was because he was holding my glove, dropping down elbows. I looked up to the ref and said, ‘Hey, what are you gonna do? He’s holding my glove.’

“He got us up and once we got up I knew my finger was hurt, somehow. 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 gonna 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.”

The next move for Pliev is to get further examined and see what the next steps will be in the recovery process. Pliev is optimistic that he’ll be able to return to action and is willing to do whatever it takes to do so.

With how this has all played out and the attention that it has received, Pliev is grateful no matter what transpired in that cage Thursday night.

“The bible says whatever happens, happens for a good reason,” Pliev stated. “So praise God. About what’s happening right now, this thing going viral, that’s not in my hands. That’s in God’s hands. I don’t know what’s happening. And if it benefits CFFC—I met the president Robert [Haydek] and I appreciate him putting me there—and whatever good things come out of it, I’m in, brother.

“Now I have to do something with this hand, fix it and, God willing, I can continue with my fighting.”