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Chael Sonnen Gives an Excellent Insight Into Why ‘Liver Shot’ Is So Devastating in UFC

Published 12/04/2020, 9:30 AM EST

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Rachael Ostovich recently fought Gina Mazany. Ostovich was stopped at round 3 via a liver shot. At the time, many fans and experts thought it to be a body kick that hit her in the stomach. But that was not the case, as she actually got hurt in the liver.

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In the first episode of the podcast Doc & The Bad Guy with David Abbasi, Chael Sonnen explained why liver shots are so lethal in the UFC and combat sports overall.

The former fighter lauded Dr. Abbasi for his excellent judgment as he said, “Just cause it’s such a different look, even when we are talking about Rachael Ostovich, prior to meeting you, I would have told people she got kicked in the stomach. And they all would’ve listened to me and we’d all go home. But you were right.


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He continued, “Aiming for liver, where Rachael got kicked, I think anybody watching at home probably saw it the way I saw it. She got kicked in the stomach and that must’ve hurt. But there was more to it. Which is that liver. That liver hurt so bad, it’s such a sensitive area.

Chael Sonnen explained the damage liver shots cause to a fighter

Sonnen went on to talk about how fighters usually protect the liver. He spoke about fight stances and broke down why fighters crouch and hold their hands in that manner. He claimed that it was not only for them to protect their face, nose, and jaw, but even their body.

Chael Sonnen also brought up a boxing fight between Bernard Hopkins and Oscar De La Hoya as an example of how liver shots can actually affect a fighter. De La Hoya was caught by Hopkins by a liver shot and got knocked down. The fight had to be stopped.


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The first time I saw a meaningful liver shot, it was Bernard Hopkins hit Oscar De La Hoya and put him down. De La Hoya never got up. And I don’t know if this is literal. So I am asking you a question here. But, De La Hoya said he flipped his liver over. I don’t know if that’s an expression or if your liver gets hit it actually can rotate.


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Sonnen brings up his own experience compared to Ostovich’s

via Imago

He also brought up his own experience of getting hit in the liver and explaining how it is paralyzing. Hence, he could understand what Rachael Ostovich had to go through at that moment. The former fighter concluded, “I can tell you having been hit in the liver, it’s paralyzing. It’ll stop you as the same it stopped De La Hoya… You just can’t move. The same we saw Rachael go through.” 


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Dr. Abbasi seemed to agree with Sonnen’s excellent analysis as he held human anatomy being responsible for liver shots to be so lethal. What do you make of Chael Sonnen’s excellent assessment? Let us know your thoughts below.

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Written by:

Apratim Banerjee


One take at a time

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.
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