JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — UFC fans got more than they bargained for when Mexican Gabriel (Moggly) Benitez's shin was split open in a decision loss to Omar (Venezuelan Fighter) Morales on the undercard of a UFC Fight Night card Wednesday.
Morales (10-0-0) earned a 30-27 29-28, 29-28 decision.
Morales held a 63-50 edge in significant strikes over the fight. Almost one-quarter of Benitez's strikes were leg kicks, coming at a nasty personal toll.
The show broadcast, aired in TSN in Canada, showed a post-fight close-up of the injury, warning viewers ahead of time.
"This was a nasty gash," said commentator Jon Anik.
Benitez's leg was missing a chunk of skin, with bloody bone showing.
"Benitez's shin looks like he checked an axe swing," tweeted MMA site Sherdog.
"I'm completely numb to violence, and that shin was just too, too much," tweeted Steven Marrocco, a veteran MMA journalist who writes for MMAfighting.com.
A UFC spokeswoman said the 31-year-old Benitez , who fell to 21-10-0, was taken to hospital after the fight for X-rays.
UFC commentators noted the cut on Benitez's leg as the two fighters came out for the second round.
"That's a cut there, D.C., on the shin," a groaning Anik told Daniel Cormier, a former light-heavyweight and heavyweight champion.
"Because he's getting those kicks checked. You get those kicks checked over and over like that, when you kick that hard, you're going to split that shin open" replied Cormier, who noted the blood trickling down Morales' leg in the second round.
It was hard to tell during the fight because Benitez's left leg is heavily tattooed. But announcers provided an update heading into Round 3.
"It looks like a bullet wound. There's a chunk of his leg missing," said Anik.
Morales also took his lumps. His face looked like he had been in a car crash after the fight.
The UFC is no stranger to horrific injuries.
Anderson Silva's leg snapped kicking Chris Weidman in December 2013 at UFC 168. The late Corey Hill fractured his shin when Dale Hartt checked a leg kick in 2008.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2020.
The Canadian Press