With his first kick of the bout, MMA fighter Chris Weidman broke his right leg in a ghastly injury just 17 seconds into his middleweight matchup Saturday night at UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Fla, with 15,000 fans in attendance at the sold-out VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.
Footage embedded below shows Weidman immediately going to the mat, obviously in great distress.
Opponent Uriah Hall was declared the winner by technical knockout (TKO) in the 185-pound weight class.
Weidman, 36, left the ring in a stretcher while giving a thumbs up to the fans, and was transported to a local hospital, and he is scheduled for surgery on the injured limb today.
“[T]he impact of the injury, which saw Weidman’s tibia break through the skin, brought a hush over the crowd and an emotional reaction from a stunned Hall. The sad irony of the situation is that Weidman (15-6) scored a similar victory over Anderson Silva in their 2013 middleweight title rematch that left the former champion sidelined for a full year,” CBS Sports recalled, noting that the Weidman injury is “one of the most gruesome” in UFC history.
CAUTION: Extremely Graphic
* WARNING: GRAPHIC *
— Sideline Sports (@sportsideline) April 25, 2021
In 2010, Weidman defeated Hall by TKO in the first round, with last night’s fight at UFC 261 being a long-awaited rematch.
Silva responded to Weidman’s injury by posting a sympathetic statement.
Anderson Silva posted a message to Chris Weidman after Weidman severely injured his leg at #UFC261
Weidman was Silva’s opponent seven years ago at UFC 168 when Silva suffered a similar-looking injury. pic.twitter.com/hqtxTsnOep
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 25, 2021
“Can’t keep a champion down,” the official UFC Twitter account posted, along with footage of Weidman leaving the arena on a stretcher.
Can't keep a champion down.
— UFC (@ufc) April 25, 2021
In a post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, an emotional and very classy Hall, also 36, who has an overall UFC record of 17-9, publicly sent his best wishes to Weidman and his family.
“I got nothing but respect for Chris Weidman. He is truly one of the best…I wanted to put out a great performance. I feel so bad; I hope he’s okay. I wish the family well…I got nothing bad to say about him, and I hope he recovers, and hey, whatever rank I am in the future, if he gets well, I owe him this fight. And I hope he can come back from it. You’re still one of the best, Chris.”
“I hope he’s okay. I wish his family well if you guys are watching.”
Uriah Hall had a classy message for Chris Weidman and his family after their fight at UFC 261 ended with an injury to Weidman’s leg. pic.twitter.com/m3yd5sSEsG
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 25, 2021
During the same UFC card, “freedom” fighter Rose Namajunas regained the strawweight title (115 pounds) from Zhang Weili of China in about one minute of the first round.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 15, 2021
The apparent reaction by Rogan and his broadcast colleagues to Namajunas’ winning left head kick went viral on social media and has become an instant meme.
— ESPN (@espn) April 25, 2021
UFC 261 was reportedly the first sold-out major sporting event at an indoor arena in the U.S. since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, prompting Gov. Ron DeSantis at a pre-event press conference to describe his state as an “oasis of freedom.”
— Meg Turner (@megnturner_) April 22, 2021
UFC 261 also saw welterweight champ Kamaru Usman knock out Jorge Masvidal in the second round to retain his belt in the 170-pound category.
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