MMA fighter Khetag Pliev loses finger in gruesome mid-bout injury

A Russian-born Canadian MMA fighter has sent the sporting world's collective stomach turning, after losing his finger in an horrific mid-fight accident.

Making his professional MMA debut with regional American promotion Cage Fury Fighting Championship, former Olympic wrestler Khetag Pliev's fight against Devin Goodale was called off, when his corner noticed that his left ring finger had gone missing.

Pliev seemed to be completely unawares, as a lengthy search began for the rogue digit. The PA announcer at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia asked the crowd to help with the hunt. They even checked underneath the cage.

Several minutes later, it was found inside his glove.

Remarkably, the 37-year-old's immediate concern was continuing the fight, rather than the fact that he was minus a finger, as he begged officials to let him continue.

"It was crazy," event promoter Rob Haydak tells ESPN. 

"He didn't even flinch. He was getting ready to do the [official] decision and I was like, 'Uh, guys, get him out of the cage and go put his finger back on.'"

Pliev stuck around long enough for the official decision to be announced - a TKO loss - before he was taken to hospital, where the finger was successfully reattached.

Pliev - who represented Canada in wrestling at the 2012 London Olympics - believes he suffered the injury, when his opponent had grabbed at his glove early in the fight.

"In the second round, he caught my glove with one hand and held it," Pliev tells TMZ. 

"I felt my finger snapped. He kept pulling my glove and my finger snapped. We kept fighting."

"When the second round was finished, I see my [bone] was out in the open. I wanted to keep fighting, because I felt like I had this guy. But, the doctor saw that and stopped the fight."

Pliev also blocked a second high kick in the second round, some some speculating that subsequent kick also did some of the damage in dislodging the broken finger.

Pliev's camp is still hopeful of having the result overturned, on the basis that the injury was - at least, in part - caused by Goodale tugging at his glove after a takedown.