Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman’s hopes of picking up a crucial victory at UFC 261 ended with the very first kick of the fight against Uriah Hall.
Weidman faced Uriah Hall in a middleweight bout in Jacksonville, Florida, and looked to make a fast start in the opening seconds of the fight as he closed the distance and threw a powerful leg kick at Hall.
But Hall, using a defensive technique to “check” the kick, lifted his leg off the ground, causing the Weidman’s leg to snap on impact. The break could be heard around the packed VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena as the 15,000-strong crowd gasped in shock at the sight, and sound, of Weidman’s horrific injury.
It meant the fight was over in just 17 seconds, giving Hall the TKO victory. But Hall wasn’t interested in celebrating a win, and was clearly shocked and distressed by what had just transpired in the octagon.
“I got nothing but respect for Chris Weidman. He’s truly one of the best,” he told Joe Rogan after the verdict was read.
“It’s a crazy story that he’s the first man I fought that defeated me, that introduced me to fear.
“He’s the first one to defeat Anderson (Silva). I was the last. and it crazy that we ended up here again.
“Man, I feel so bad. I hope he’s OK. I with his family well. It’s a sucky part of this sport. It’s the hurt business.
“Whatever rank I am in the future, if he gets healthy, I owe him this fight.”
The graphic injury suffered by Weidman was a bizarre flashback to a fight earlier in his career.
Back in 2013, at UFC 168, Weidman checked a kick from former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, causing the Brazilian legend to suffer a broken leg in Las Vegas.
And, in a cruel instance of history repeating itself, it was Weidman who suffered an almost identical injury as he was stretchered away from the cage with a career-threatening injury.