LAS VEGAS -- Uriah Hall limped away from UFC 175 with a win and a toe pointing in another direction.
The 29-year-old middleweight from New York City broke his toe in the first round against Brazil's Thiago Santos on Saturday night. And things got more gruesome after that.
The crowd at the Mandalay Bay Events Center first noticed the injury when the cameras zoomed in on the disfigured toe after the first round. There was an audible groan around the arena when it was shown on the big screens.
Hall came out for the second round, with the top of the toe next to his big toe sticking up almost vertically.
"I remember throwing a front kick and he blocked it but I didn't realize I had broken my toe," Hall said later. "I was putting it in my head that it wasn't broken but I kept looking down and seeing it. I tried to pop it back in after the round ended before the (Nevada State Athletic) Commission inspectors came over and saw it but they were too quick for me.
"In the moment you just feel numb and luckily that pushes you on in the fight. But in between rounds it creeps into your mind that you should stop so I'm very thankful for my coaches who kept my head in the game and supported me the whole way through. . . . In that third round I just thought to myself this is my time to prove to everyone that I have what it takes. I left it all out there."
The ringside physician spoke to Hall after the second round but let him finish. By the end of the fight, the dislodged bone had poked a hole through the skin.
Hall (10-4) won by unanimous decision, admitting that he could feel the bone shifting in and out of his skin as the bout wore on.
He limped out of the cage with his arm around a cornerman's shoulder. His toe was pointed in a different direction.
"It was a pretty nasty break," UFC president Dana White said by way of understatement.
Hall was taken to hospital after the fight, tweeting pictures of medical staff at work put his toe back where it should be.
He also tweeted an X-ray of the broken toe with the message: "If you're not going after your dreams, you just exist."
He added the hashtag .toemuchtoohandle.
Hall won rave reviews from White for his early performances on Season 17 of "The Ultimate Fighter." But he was beaten in the finale of the reality TV show and lost his first two fights in the UFC, leading White to question his mental toughness.
"It was good to see him let his hand go tonight and fight through a broken toe," said White. "He's back, I like it."
The win was the second straight for Hall, following a first-round TKO of Chris (The Crippler) Leben.