Talking about the bloody injury she sustained in her first-round loss to Miranda Maverick at UFC 254, Liana Jojua reveals how UFC President Dana White comforted her after her fight was controversially halted.
Flyweight newcomer Jojua was thwarted by a horrific-looking cut on the nose of an elbow when she was beaten by Maverick on Fight Island.
Blood ran down her face and chest as she attempted to return for the second round of her third fight with the promotion.
Jojua’s scrap came to an early close when her injuries, which she deemed necessary, saw the competition being canceled.
“I was ready and willing to keep fighting, but the doctors wouldn’t let me,” Jojua told RT Sport, admitting “grief, sadness and heaviness in my heart” about the nature of the interruption.
“To be honest, I didn’t know I had such a big cut. Even if I did, I would still be fighting, but I could feel that there was a lot of blood.
“I even spat out some blood, but I was ready to fight to the end. I’ve broken my nose in fights.
“I was even kicked in the nose once and fought round four and five with a broken nose.
“The cut was deep, but I don’t think it obstructed me. I could see everything, I was breathing.
“I think they should have given me a chance and then stopped the fight if it got worse, but I didn’t get a chance.
“I’ve seen people struggle with cuts like that. My cut didn’t stop me from seeing.
“What could I have done? My mouth was covered in blood. I noticed my nose was bleeding twice.
“The first time I didn’t really pay attention. Then the cut opened and blood gushed out.”
Jojua was understandably emotional when she was treated for the gruesome cut after the fight, even though she didn’t know UFC President White was in the room to hear her shed a tear or two on Fight Island.
White reached out to Jojua for compassion after her early preliminary card fight at the event in which Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Justin Gaethje and then retired from the sport.
“When I was taken to the doctor, (White) came to see what was going on,” she recalled.
“I stayed strong and didn’t show tears like a real man. When I thought there was no one but doctors in the room, I started crying.
“Then I hear his voice say, ‘Don’t cry.’ He starts to calm me down and I thought “Oh no – he can see me” and started crying even more.
“It was a bit awkward. I didn’t want to show any weakness even though I just lost, but what can you do?
“He didn’t forget me and showed support. He said it wasn’t the best break and that he will give me another fight.
“I was glad that he took care of me and that he will give me another fight.”
Impressively tough Jojua was dismayed by the result after starting to plan the second round during a five minute opening which she was pleased with.
Her worst previous injury was a broken arm. “You used a needle and thread,” she explained the stitching on her nose. “They gave me an anesthetic, but I could feel everything.
“It was very uncomfortable. I could feel the thread running through my skin. It’s a bad feeling. I got five or six stitches. It was terrible. This was the first cut I sewed.
“The doctor offered to do plastic surgery, but I don’t care. People will say I have a big Georgian nose, but honestly I don’t care how I look.
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“I’m happy with my God-given appearance and don’t want to change anything. As soon as the swelling subsides, everything will return to normal.”
Jojua was encouraged by the support of her growing fan base. “Even though my arm was not raised, my fans wrote a lot of positive messages calling me a warrior and saying I had the courage to come out and keep fighting,” she said.
“Unfortunately they didn’t make me do it this time, but people saw my spirit and I got a lot of support.
“My fans and I are heartbroken but I’m glad they are with me whether I win or lose. It’s very important because when you win everyone congratulates you, but when you lose, people start you to forget and slander.
“I got some hatred, but I also got a lot of support and that motivates me to keep training. Even though I didn’t win, I don’t feel like I lost.”
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“It just wasn’t my night. I’ve done everything well, but I can’t stop a doctor from ending the fight.
“We can’t prevent everything. It’s a brutal sport and one blow can decide everything that happened.”
Teaching assistant Maverick also said she didn’t see the interruption and wanted more time to impress White.
“I wouldn’t be happy with the win if I were her,” said Jojua. “Why be happy when you’ve lost the round and your opponent has been disqualified?
“We will see their future fights. I hope to fight them again. I will not ask for anything – I will fight whoever they give me.”
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