Before the fight was even called, UFC light heavyweight Anthony Smith was already picking up his tooth off the mat and handing it to the referee.
By the time it was finally stopped and declared a fifth-round TKO for Glover Teixeira Wednesday night, Smith had a brutal laundry list of injuries that left him hospital-bound after UFC Fight Night in Jacksonville.
Smith’s corner is now facing criticism for not stopping the fight sooner, after he walked away with a broken nose, broken orbital bone, two missing teeth and a cut under his right eye, according to ESPN.
“I’m good with the decisions the referee and my corner made,” Smith told ESPN. “When the ref made it clear he needed to see something or he was gonna stop it, I did what I had to do to stay in the fight. I come out of battle with my shield or I come out on it. That’s my rule. Period.”
At one point during a break in the match, Smith could be heard telling his corner, “My teeth are falling out.” But there seemed to be some confusion about what that meant. Smith’s coach, Marc Montoya, told ESPN Smith has veneers that have fallen out in practice before, so it may not have sounded as alarming. According to Smith, though, it was his real teeth falling out.
“I couldn’t keep my mouthpiece in place due to the missing tooth,” he said. “I looked down and it was on the canvas. So I grabbed it and handed it to [the referee].”
Smith put his UFC skills to better use last month, when he successfully fought off a home intruder, calling it, “one of the toughest fights I’ve had in my whole life.”