The streets of Newark, N.J., are riddled with holes; however, the Octagon inside the Prudential Center last night (Sat., April 27, 2013) is a different story.
Jon Jones, momentarily, believed otherwise shortly after his UFC 159 main event concluded with his hand raised after a first round technical knockout stoppage of Chael Sonnen (watch highlights here). "Bones," celebrating his latest win with a little shimmy and shake, had no idea that he mangled his big toe (see a pic here) in the rout until ringside announcer Joe Rogan brought it to his attention before the post-fight interview.
Adrenaline was still pumping through his system, meaning that Jones didn't feel the pain. And when Rogan asked him to deliver an explanation on the spot, Jones -- who appeared to have a physical reaction to the unsightly injury -- couldn't pinpoint when, or how, it happened.
That changed moments later at the UFC on FUEL TV post-fight show.
"My toe is not doing great, but I'm doing great, so my toe is doing great," Jones said. "It was somewhere near late in the round and I was springing forward and a felt a 'pop.' I thought my foot had got caught in a hole -- I've had that happen at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA, we have a hole in our canvas. I stubbed my big toe in it, and I was fine, but I told coach that we need to get it fixed because it's pretty dangerous. I thought that was the scenario here tonight, but when the fight was over and I saw blood, then I look closer and saw that my toe was upside-down."
It actually appears that Jones was planting his foot, causing the big to snap because of the pressure (see this .gif). When it actually happened is still a bit unclear at the moment, but it clearly did not affect Jones' short-term performance as he proceeded to bash Sonnen along the cage until the referee determined that he had had enough.
Sonnen protested immediately, but then he admitted shortly afterward that he had "no problem" with the stoppage even though he could have likely leveraged an injury like that to his benefit in future rounds if the match was allowed to continue.
Jones, however, didn't seem to think would have made a significant difference in the eventual outcome.
"This toe is not going to slow me down, no way," he said. "With the coaching staff that I have, to be dead honest with you, I don't think they would have allowed me to dwell on it too much. They probably would have tried twisting on it and making me go back out there. That's the name of the game -- try to live like a warrior, be a warrior. And unless I go through crazy stuff like that I'll never know how much of a warrior I can be."
It was the crazy cherry on top of a zany night in Newark, which included a dislocated thumb (see it here) and two eye pokes, one that sent Alan Belcher to the hospital (see it here) and another that cost Gian Villante the chance to finish his fight against Ovince St. Preux (more here).
Perhaps there was something amiss with the Octagon last night after all. Regardless, Jones is taking it all in stride, planning to use the bad boo-boo as motivation to come back stronger than ever.
"It's all good," he said. "I was planning on working hard in the offseason and doing things [in training] even better, cleaner and more grown up. This is going to give me a great reason to do that, rehab my big toe, make sure that I not only get it back to full strength, but stronger than it was before."
That's a scary thought.