Damon Jackson suffered a gruesome cut during his fight with Charles Rosa on the preliminary portion of UFC Vegas 39 on Saturday night.
The UFC featherweight was caught with a spinning back elbow that immediately opened a cut on the side of his right eyebrow in the beginning of the third round. The damage was quite obvious as Jackson started bleeding profusely on his opponent and the canvas as both men went to the ground. With every submission attempt from Jackson, more blood poured out from the cut and it looked as though the fight was in danger of being stopped. The cagseside physician was eventually requested by the referee, and after an inspection, determined that Jackson could continue. He did so and went on to win a unanimous decision over Rosa.
Jackson spoke to the assembled media in Las Vegas at his post-fight press conference and explained what was going through his head during such a dangerous moment. He realized he was hit with an elbow shortly after the brief exchange, but remained focused on trying to ignore the blood and getting into a better position where he could submit Rosa.
“It’s always kind of weird when you have your own blood in there,” said Jackson (video via MMA Junkie). “It’s like you smell it. I try telling people about the no fans and stuff like that. It’s so weird when you don’t have a whole arena making a bunch of noise. Because I could hear whenever he hit me, I could hear him breathing and I could see that he saw that I was bleeding. I could hear the referee talking to me. You hear my coach and his coach talking. It’s such a weird feeling.
“Then I see my blood squirting out like two or three inches,” continued Jackson. “It hit an artery. So, it hit something good and it was squirting really good. It was coming out the whole time, so it was a steady stream of blood and I could just smell it. It’s always kind of weird. It doesn’t freak me out anymore. It’s just weird. It’s not normal to get hit in the face and to bleed and have your own blood all over someone. It’s nuts.”
Although the cut and blood were certainly cause for concern, Jackson knew it would not be enough to warrant a stoppage from the doctor. The placement of the cut and the direction in which the blood flowed did not hamper his vision in any way, so that fight-ending scenario was unlikely.
“I think it pinpoint hit a perfect artery,” said Jackson. “It hit something in there where it was bleeding good, but the cut, it’s like a long superficial cut but it’s not deep all the way through. It’s only deep in the middle. So I think it was like three stitches underneath and then the rest of them were on the top. It was deep because it hit something, but it wasn’t a doctor’s stoppage. It was coming down the side of my eye. I could feel that it was hitting my eyebrow and coming off the side. It wasn’t in my eye.”
Jackson received 18 stitches to close up the cut and said he would be ready to fight again as soon it was healed. The win over Rosa saw the 33-year-old return to the win column after a devastating knockout loss to Ilia Topuria at UFC Vegas 16 this past December.