Even for MMA, Saturday’s UFC 140 was especially one not for the faint of heart. The event in Toronto left Tito Ortiz doubled over in pain tending to his battered ribs, a limp Lyoto Machida collapsing to the mat after being choked unconscious and, most alarmingly, war-horse Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira writhing in agony on the ground after his shoulder was snapped from its socket.
Suffice to say, the card and especially the gruesome submission victory win by Frank Mir, will live long in the memory.
After dazing Mir with strikes and swarming all over him on the floor midway through the first Nogueira lost top position and ultimately found himself on the wrong end of a nasty kimura attempt. During the subsequent scramble the Brazilian tried to roll free but Mir locked in the hold even deeper. Nogueira’s arm eventually snapped and he tapped the agony on his face for all to see.
Said Frank Mir to Joe Rogan after the brutal moment was shown repeatedly on the big screen for all in attendance to see, or look away, “Now I’m the first person to knock him out and the first person to submit him. I kept flat, chest heavy and was able to break it. That’s what I trained for.”
The former UFC heavyweight champion added, “I honestly hope that Nogueira ends up being okay. I idolize him. When you’re our size and you’re as dangerous as we are, things happen. You can get caught. It takes nothing away from Nogueira.”
Mir is no stranger to breaking opponents’ bones in the octagon. At UFC 48 in 1994 he fought Tim Sylvia for the then vacant heavyweight belt. Early on Mir synched Sylvia’s right limb in a tight looking armbar. Sylvia tried desperately to escape the hold and in the ensuing struggle his right radius bone snapped.
The referee halted the action immediately although Sylvia disputed the verdict claiming that his arm was not in fact broken. However the big screen slow motion reply explicitly showed fans the exact moment that Sylvia’s arm popped. Sylvia later said that he was glad the fight was stopped, saving his arm from further damage.
While in the direct aftermath Mir showed concern for his opponents’ after separating their limbs the same cannot be said for Japanese submissions specialist Shinya Aoki after he defeated Mizutu Hirota via a brutal arm submission at Dynamite! 2009.
Early in the first Aoki secured a hammerlock on his opponent and pushed Hirota’s arm up higher and higher until it broke. With the fight over and Hirota in agony on the mat Aoki got in his opponent’s face and gave him the finger!
In the post fight interview Aoki said: “When I had his arm behind his back, I could feel it popping, I thought, ‘Well, this guy’s pride just won’t let him tap, will it?’ So without hesitation, I broke it. I heard it break, and I thought, ‘Ah, there, I just broke it.’ I was stopped afterward, but even if I hadn’t been, continuing to break it more would have been fine by me.”
One of the most famous encounters in Pride fighting was when Kazushi Sakuraba faced Renzo Gracie at Pride 10 in 2000. Following a long, evenly matched, contest with mere seconds remaining the combatants’ found themselves pressed against the turnbuckle.
In spectacular fashion, Sakuraba locked in a kimura and spun around, flipping Gracie to the canvas as he wrenched his arm behind his back.
Gracie refused to submit to the hold despite his elbow being snapped prior to hitting the ground. The referee waved off the contest due to the injury. Renzo has since referred to the bout as his proudest moment in mixed martial arts, due to his refusal to submit in the face of injury.