Even the most blood-thirsty of MMA fans will have winced in horror at the damage Ramiz Brahimaj endured during his welterweight contest on Saturday night, during which his left ear was almost completely severed off.
Making UFC octagon debut, American fighter Brahimaj suffered a bruising night’s work against opponent Max Griffin in their bout on the undercard at UFC Fight Night Las Vegas.
Brahimaj had already taken a pair of low blows during the contest before serious swelling emerged under his left eye, which eventually split open and began to bleed.
But the carnage was not done there as Griffin caught Brahimaj with an elbow to the side of his head, almost slicing his ear clean off.
Despite his ear flapping around wildly, Brahimaj incredibly attempted to fight on – simply poking at it in a vain attempt to stick the displaced body part back into place.
Referee Marc Smith was clearly less keen for the 27-year-old to continue, stepping in to stop the fight and award Griffin a TKO win at 2:03 in the third round.
The gruesome images of Brahimaj’s ear were soon being shared widely online – including by UFC boss Dana White.
WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS / VIDEO
🤢 #UFCVegas13 is LIVE TONIGHT on @espn at 10pm ET pic.twitter.com/dUbmcIyi6g
White accompanied the image with a ‘sick’ emoji, and some were drawn to question why the UFC boss would send that kind of grisly content into fans’ Twitter feeds.
“Why?” asked ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto, while Robbie Fox from Barstool Sports (jokingly) called White a “sicko” for spreading the graphic content.
You didn’t have to tweet this sicko
You’re just gonna use this poor man’s ear to promote ? 😂
For those of a sterner constitution, there was also video footage of the ugly scenes to digest.
Some fans expressed concerns about how Brahimaj would recover from the wound, although others were there to offer reassurance.
“The UFC have a plastic surgeon on hand in Vegas that will repair this like it never happened. They’ve done it countless times before with terrible lacerations,” one fan wrote.
Where there is pain, there is usually dark humor – and one particularly popular reaction referenced Mike Tyson, those most famous of combat sports ear-biters.
A number of fans used the injury to call for tape or ear protection to be worn by fighters to cover their ears, while one fan suggested that the money Brahimaj was receiving for the fight was not worth to damage.
“F*ck that. That aint worth whatever money they are getting,” read the tweet.
“I love this sport but that’s too much,” wrote another fan.
Brahimaj took to Instagram to reassure fans that he was fine, calling the injury merely a “flesh wound.”
“Hello everyone! I am fine! Tis but a flesh wound,” he wrote.
Hello everyone! I am fine! Tis but a flesh wound🤣🤣🤣. On a serious note congratulations to my opponent fought a great fight and am truly happy to share the cage with him and best of luck to him. I will heal up, and get right back on track. From the soul I appreciate all the support I have gotten from all over!! Set backs are nothing new to me so they will only make me stronger. Much love y’all, see you soon. #alhamdulillahalways
“On a serious note congratulations to my opponent fought a great fight and am truly happy to share the cage with him and best of luck to him.
“I will heal up, and get right back on track. From the soul I appreciate all the support I have gotten from all over!! Set backs are nothing new to me so they will only make me stronger.”
With his victory, Griffin ended a two-fight losing streak and improved to 16-8 overall. The unfortunate Brahimaj lost his octagon bow and slipped to 8-3 overall.