People can and do get really hurt doing MMA, which, if we’re being honest, has more than a little to do with why people—me, you, Mandy Moore—enjoy watching it. So there wasn't anything that shocking about the story (refresh once or twice if the link fails to load) that tore up the internet on Tuesday—thanks in large part to a link at Deadspin—which purported to be a true and grisly account of how a fellow by the name of Isiah Ordiz got broken off real bad-like by Rousimar Palhares, the UFC’s Galactus of Legs, during a sparring session gone horribly wrong.
The insanely graphic graphic that served as visual proof of this (nauseatingly near-literal) breaking-off was an epically NSFW emergency room shot of a Cronenberg-ian compound fracture. It’s the sort of thing a never-sexed 4Chan board junkie trawls for, in hopes of detonating it mid-fuzzy kittens thread like some sort of gag reflex-testing WMD. Which means it’s also the sort of thing someone would save to their hard drive, and then post it on some other forum complete with an unverifiable backstory designed to test the internet’s suspension of disbelief. Repeat and repeat and repeat and eventually that gnarly photo will find an angle that’s both esoteric and believable enough for it to land, uninvited and all bone-jutty nasty, in your consciousness. Which, as it turns out, is exactly what happened here. The story, as Deadspin's correction reflects, is totally false.
The picture and back-story—a notoriously reckless MMA fighter defies the limits of human strength through barehanded snapping dude’s leg in half (while sparring, remember)—is precisely the sort of over-the-top, urban-legendary bullshit that MMA lives on. And bullshit is absolutely what this is, and absolutely what MMA fans were able to identify it as from a mile off.
The story(?) was originally posted on an internet forum by some presumed-dude going by the credibility-granting handle of RickFromFowler. Notice, if you will, the abundance of details—"Before the UFC on FOX2 matches, there were matches on FuelTV and in one of those preliminary matches, a battle of featherweights, Charles Oliveira defeated Eric Wisely with a move called a calf slicer which is very similar to a heel hook"—that have nothing to do with the story itself. Notice how the story of the actual incident is told in the space of one sentence. Notice how that one sentence provides no when or where. Notice, too, how the photo conveniently obscures the face of our sure-to-be-disabled friend. Notice, while you’re at it, how our sure-to-be-disabled-friend’s injury looks like it was caused not by a human, but a halfsharkalligatorhalfman. You might also notice how some dude posting on a random Detroit sports forum got wind of this story before anyone in Brazil—which, you know, is the place where Palhares lives—thought to fire up COM PORT 4 and cop some cheap e-fame.
That was the short list of reasons why I didn’t buy this story at first. But, after a spectacular failure to verify the story with any of my sources in Brazil, intrepid Twitter user @AlexJones_ alerted me to this different story, which features the same photo (right up front this time, so remember that NSFW thing) and a post date of January 28th, 2012, three days earlier than the story Deadspin linked to on Tuesday. The nail got hammered down when Guilherme Cruz, arguably Brazil’s most well-connected MMA reporter, confirmed the story’s obvious bunk-itude on Twitter, in a very easy-to-understand Portuguese-language tweet. Another contact dropped me a line after I reached out to him and said Palhares' people had no idea what he was even talking about.
And so this story completes its regression from "TRUE UFC STORY ZOMG!!1" to "Oh, this gross-out chunk of web junk was believed to be something else." Internet, man. That shit cray.