Josh Gross over at ESPN.com is reporting that in last night's main event at UFC 124, welterweight contender Josh Koscheck suffered a broken orbital bone at some point during the course of the fight. Given how swiftly Koscheck's right eye ballooned in the first round, it is likely the damage was sustained during that frame of the fight. The pain must have been severe as there were moments in between rounds where the challenger didn't even want his eye touched with ice or enswell.
This is why Joe Rogan's commentary that the ringside physician was interfering with a match that had every reason to continue is plainly irresponsible. Fighters are not the best stewards of their own health and wellness. Nor should we expect them to be. Ringside physicians who aren't the occasional buzz kill aren't doing their jobs. I shared Rogan's moment of potential letdown given the stakes of the bout and the seeming ability of Koscheck to continue fighting. However, shooing the doctor away because his informed medical opinion could leave fans unsatisfied or the match incomplete isn't responsible adherence to the "fighter safety" ethos.
Having your face broken can not only impact future training cycles and fights, it can functionally end careers. Here's hoping Koscheck has a swift and full recovery. Here's also hoping ringside physicians continue to make unpopular decisions in the name of fighter safety.