As he was being choked and pummeled on the ground by eventual winner Glover Teixeira in the fourth round, Smith grabbed two teeth that had been knocked out onto the mat and handed them to the referee.
Teixeira said he heard Smith saying, “Here, ref, here, ref,” to referee Jason Herzog as he was punching his opponent, then realized it was a tooth he wanted to give the official.
“I told him, 'Hey, sorry, Anthony, but it’s part of the job,” Teixeira said.
Smith could be heard telling his corner at one point, “My teeth are falling out.”
Smith sustained a lot more damage than two missing teeth. He told MMA reporter Ariel Helwani he also had a broken nose and orbital bone.
Smith lost by a technical knockout in the fifth round. Many observers believe the fight should have been stopped sooner, For the Win reported.
The UFC card was the second to play out before empty arena stands in a matter of days. UFC is hoping to lead the reboot of spectator sports amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Controversy accompanied Saturday’s competition when a fighter and his cornermen tested positive for COVID-19 before the event and had to withdraw.