That's gotta hurt: Ten MMA injuries
Here's a list of MMA most resonant in-ring fractures:
10. Allan Goes vs. Frank Shamrock (Pancrase, May 13, 1995)Breaking Point: Ankle (dislocation)
X-Ray: Little wonder Pancrase played host to so many lower-body submissions: Combatants wore thick padded boots to eliminate slippery limbs and grapplers could chance risky hooks without fear of getting their face bludgeoned. (Strikes to the face on the ground were forbidden.)
All of this conspired heavily against jiu-jitsu stylist Goes, who held early positional advantages before Shamrock secured a lock and tore his ankle off its tendon hinges. Like most on this list, trauma that would have most of us catatonic just angered Goes, who went on to finish the bout -- a draw.
9. Randy Couture vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (UFC 74, Aug. 25, 2007)Breaking Point: Ulna bone
X-Ray: The biggest non-news item of the day: Randy Couture is a really, really tough guy.
Facing Moreau island castaway Gonzaga in a heavyweight bout, Couture checked a kick with his forearm in the third round; it snapped the ulna in his left forearm. While not obvious on tape -- Couture just shakes his arm as though a mosquito had landed on it -- photos reveal a cringe-inducing break.
Couture's attitude: There's still one arm left. The champion grounded Gonzaga and pounded on him until he was politely asked to stop.
8. Frank Shamrock vs. Cung Le (Strikeforce, March 29, 2008)Breaking Point: Ulna bone
X-Ray: Apparently, blocking a high kick with only one arm is not the most sound of strategies. After engaging san shou stylist Le in a standing firefight, Shamrock absorbed Le's shin one time too many, suffering a snapped ulna in his forearm. After one last bid to knock Le out -- one that nearly worked -- Shamrock waved off any further punishment.
By way of morbid footnote, that night he wound up at the same hospital as his wife: he for six-pin and steel plate surgery, she for the (false alarm) labor of their child.
7. Karo Parisyan vs. Diego Sanchez (UFC Fight Night 6, Aug. 17, 2006)Breaking Point: Tooth veneer
X-Ray: In a moment that will live in highlight reel infamy, Sanchez solved the frustration of clinching with judoka Parisyan by delivering a knee to Parisyan's face that forced a piece of tooth enamel to go airborne.
After audiences "oooed" and "ahhhed" over the visual, Parisyan was quick to note that it was a veneer, not an actual tooth -- though somewhere, Teila Tuli is feeling slightly less embarrassed about that whole UFC 1 thing.
6. Renzo Gracie vs. Kazushi Sakuraba (Pride 10, Aug. 27, 2000)Breaking Point: Left arm
X-Ray: Less a break than a milestone in freestyle combat, Japanese avenging hero Sakuraba hit the high note in his feud with the Gracies by executing the first legitimate in-fight stoppage against the family in the modern era (excluding the corner stoppage over Royce).
After nearly 30 minutes of competitive assault, Sakuraba locked in a standing kimura and held it throughout a clinch-to-mat scramble. The persistence snapped Gracie's arm -- and the spell jiu-jitsu had held over fans since 1993.
5. Frank Shamrock vs. Igor Zinoviev (UFC 16, March 13, 1998)Breaking Point: Collarbone
X-Ray: Shamrock shows up on this list quite a bit. Ounce for ounce of calcium, he may be responsible for more trauma (delivering and sustaining) than most combat athletes.
In his attempt to unify the UFC and Extreme Fighting middleweight titles, Shamrock scooped up rival Zinoviev, adjusted his body for maximum damage velocity, then drilled him into the canvas like a fence post.
Collarbone turned to powder, Zinoviev never fought again. Shamrock alternated celebration with concern for his seemingly comatose foe. Always awkward.
4. Shinya Aoki vs. Keith Wisniewski (Shooto, Jan. 29, 2005)Breaking Point: Broken elbow
X-Ray: "Tenacious" is the best way to describe Aoki's submission game: Clinched with Wisniewski for much of the first round, the current Dream attraction dug into an arm lock and refused to let go even as Wisniewski tried to scramble away. Turn the volume up and you can actually hear the elbow give out as they tumble to the mat.
3. Forrest Griffin vs. Edson Paredao (Heat FC 2, Dec. 18, 2003)Breaking Point: Broken arm
X-Ray: Who needs Vicodin when you have adrenaline? Future UFC attraction Griffin blocked strikes from Brazilian Paredao and then noticed something odd when he went to counterattack: His left arm wasn't working.
Sensing the impending difficulty in being a one-armed cage fighter, Griffin used his right hand to knock Paredao out. Clint Eastwood would be proud.
2. Tim Sylvia vs. Frank Mir (UFC 48, June 19, 2004)Breaking Point: Right radius bone
X-Ray: The most sensationally repulsive of all entries, Sylvia's willingness to follow Mir -- jiu-jitsu's version of Mike Tyson -- to the ground stands as one of the more ill-advised decisions in sports history.
Mir, who was probably astonished to find one of Sylvia's flag pole-sized arms in his guard, wasted no time in bracing the forearm and snapping it like it a wishbone. Event cameras caught every gruesome detail; despite video evidence, Sylvia wanted to keep fighting. Wouldn't anybody?
1. Cal Worsham vs. Zane Frazier (UFC 9, May 17, 1996)Breaking Point: Broken torso
X-Ray: Mired in political smothering, UFC 9 was allowed to go forward in Detroit only when organizers agreed no closed-fist strikes to the head would be allowed. (A modest fine was the only punishment.)
A punch to the face was the least of Worsham's concerns: Charging toward Frazier, Worsham ate a knee to the chest that broke ribs, damaged his heart and collapsed his lung. Worsham spent a week in the hospital and was told his chances of surviving were questionable. Thirteen years later, it remains the most life-threatening injury ever sustained in the Octagon.
None of this, incidentally, derailed Worsham from winning the fight. He waited until he was backstage to collapse.
Jake Rossen is a contributor to Sherdog.com.
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