A doctor with vast knowledge of sports injuries agrees with the ringside doctor’s decision to call off the Jorge Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz fight at the end of the third round of the UFC 244 main event.
On Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York, Masvidal defeated Diaz in a welterweight bout by doctor’s stoppage TKO after 15 minutes of action. A gash on Diaz’s eyebrow prompted the ringside doctor not to allow the Stockton native to continue.
Brian Sutterer, a resident physician in physical medicine and rehabilitation per his Twitter account, reacted to Saturday’s controversial result in a YouTube video he posted Sunday.
Sutterer said despite the fact there was little blood from Diaz’s cut compared to past lacerations, the depth and width of it is what made it so severe.
“The risk here goes beyond losing the eye—that’s certainly the main concern, and what everything is thinking of here. But, it’s not just that,” Sutterer said. “Based on just how deep and wide this cut is, it really could progress to a point where [Diaz’s] eyelid skin could kind of completely just fall forward.”
Sutterer said it’s “totally fair” for fans to be upset at the doctor for calling the fight off, and disappointed because the highly anticipated Masvidal vs. Diaz fight ended prematurely. Though, Sutterer said, it’s easy to forget how severe some injuries in MMA really are, because it’s a sport in which two people try to hurt each other. However, as far as he’s concerned, there’s no denying the severity of the cut on Diaz’s eyebrow.
Ultimately, Sutterer said, if the ringside doctor felt the need to call it off, there should be no arguing with him.
“That decision of when to intervene is a really tough one to make,” Sutterer said. “And yes, in a lot of situations like this cut with Diaz, it’s subjective. There’s no by-the-book rule that you can get a measurement of a cut, or a width of a cut, or an amount of blood loss and say this counts as ending the match. That doctor is thinking about that fighter’s health and that fighter’s long-term ability to continue fighting. Whenever he’s looking at this eye injury, he’s thinking to himself, ‘Is this something that if I let this guy continue fighting, he could risk losing his eye, he could risk losing his life, he could risk serious injury to the muscles or the other tissues around the eye that could potentially end his career?’
“It’s a horrible situation, but I’m not going to second guess the decision that doctor made when he’s put in that situation to have that responsibility and he’s there evaluating it himself first hand. I genuinely believe that that doctor is doing what he feels is in the best interest of Diaz, based on his years of experience, his years of training, and his first-hand evaluation.”
Sutterer said when doctors check a fighter’s cut, they usually look for any air under the skin by pushing on the area of swelling, then determine how deep and wide the cut is. They also take into consideration the fighter’s ability to protect him or herself if given the opportunity to remain in the fight.