Anyone tuning in for the UFC Vegas 66 main card on Saturday night may have been left wondering what the hell happened during the prelims to leave the cage so saturated in blood. That would be on account of Rafa Garcia, who suffered a cut on the side of his head halfway through his fight that hit an artery.
Somehow, Garcia managed to keep his composure and win his fight against Hayisaer Maheshate via unanimous decision. He blanked Maheshate on the scorecards 30-27 on all three judges’ scorecards. But the blood didn’t stop there. Garcia’s coach Cub Swanson shared wild photos from backstage at the UFC APEX as medical staff struggled to staunch the seemingly endless bleeding.
“It took the UFC medical staff almost two hours to get it to stop bleeding,” Swanson wrote. “He is ok now.”
During the ESPN+ post-fight show, Garcia discussed the incident.
“They told me I lost 20 percent of my blood,” Garcia revealed. “I got a cut artery. They told me they had never seen that before. When they were stitching me up, Cub told me ‘Sit down and just chill because you lost 20 percent of your blood, chill a little bit.’”
During the post-fight press conference, Rafa said he was more concerned with what officials thought of the cut than any issue regarding the amount of blood.
“With the ref and the judges, you never know,” he said. “I mean, with the way they judge it, sometimes they see too much blood, they’ll give ‘em a round or stop the fight, you just never know, you know? So that made me just keep pushing, trying to make a statement.”
Scalp cuts tend to bleed a lot already, and with an artery involved we may have just witnessed one of the worst gushers of 2022. The UFC has actually been lucky in this regard that veins and arteries aren’t nicked more often during fights. In Gregory “Robocop” Rodrigues’ last fight, the Brazilian got split open between the eyes, exposing his Supratrochlear artery. Fortunately, it remained undamaged, and we avoided a bloodbath that time.
After a 0-2 start in the UFC, Rafa Garcia has gone on to amass a 3-1 record with his sole loss coming to Drakkar Close at UFC 277.