UFC 261 will go down in history for many reasons.
Unfortunately, however, not all of those reasons are positive.
The card saw a paying audience return to a UFC event in the United States for the first time since COVID-19 took hold, as well as dominating title fight performances from the likes of Kamaru Usman, Rose Namajunas and Valentina Shevchenko.
Regrettably, though, the lasting memory of the show seems destined to be the horrific leg break suffered by Chris Weidman in the opening moments of his middleweight bout with Uriah Hall.
The sport of MMA, by its very nature, comes with an element of danger. Rarely, however, in the near 30-year existence of the UFC has an injury as sickening as the one suffered by Weidman on Saturday night taken place inside the Octagon.
The former 185-pound champion was left crumpled on the canvas in agony after he broke the lower part of his right leg.
The incident itself – which can be seen in slow motion below – occurred when Hall checked a leg kick from Weidman with his shin. The results make tough viewing and so viewer discretion is advised.
From the moment the ill-fated kick lands, it is clear that Weidman has sustained a very bad injury. His right foot immediately hangs at a gruesome angle upon impact and gives way as soon as Weidman attempts to put his foot back down on the mat.
The fight was immediately waved off by referee Herb Dean at the 17-second mark and medics were instantly summoned to come to the aid of Weidman.
The 36-year-old was stretchered out of the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida as the capacity crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Towards the end of the UFC 261 pay-per-view broadcast, it was confirmed that Weidman had been transferred to a local medical facility and will be undergoing surgery on Sunday morning.
The injury brought back memories of a similar incident at UFC 168 in December 2013, where UFC legend Anderson Silva suffered a broken tibia and fibula after checking a leg kick. Coincidently, the man on the other side of the Octagon that night was none other than Weidman himself.
Silva was able to recover – and even went on to compete a further seven times in the UFC before retiring last year.
Weidman’s fighting future, though, is irrelevant at this time. The MMA community is simply united in sending its very best wishes to Chris Weidman and his family for a swift recovery.