Why Do Liver Shots Hurt So Bad? | Explained

A punch to the liver can make the toughest fighters in the world crumble instantly.

In this page we will cover why liver shots hurt so bad, and whether or not they're legal in the UFC.

liver shots

Table of Contents

Why Do Liver Shots Hurt So Bad?

A punch to the liver directly affects the vagus nerve, the nerve in control of digestion and rest. When that nerve is hit, the fighter will feel their heart rate & blood pressure decrease, and will immediately feel dizzy and nauseous. Add that on top of the unbearable pain that immediately collapses a fighter to the floor, and it's clear why it is devastating.

liver pain

Unlike other parts of the body that you can train to become stronger, such as doing core workouts in order to strengthen the abdominals, you can't train your liver to be stronger.

This means that no matter what physical shape you are in, you are always susceptible to a devastating liver shot, as you cannot prepare for a blow to the liver.

Additionally, the liver is a very important organ whose main function is to help control chemical levels in the blood through the process of filtering out toxins. It also creates nutrients and turns them into an easier form for the body to be able to deal with.

Are Liver Punches Legal in the UFC?

Liver punches are legal in the UFC as well as liver kicks. Anything above the belt and waistline is fair game, as well as anything below the groin area.

Recently UFC fighter Giga Chikadze landed a brutal liver kick against the ultra durable Cub Swanson. Despite Swanson being one of the toughest fighters on the roster, he crumbled immediately and was unable to recover.

Where Do You Aim For a Liver Shot?

In order to land a perfect liver shot, fighters will need to aim for the right side of the abdomen, right below the rib cage.

Boxer Ryan Garcia was able to land a perfect liver shot against his opponent, and you can visibly see his opponent attempting to 'Tough it out' until he can no longer handle it.

This is what creates a 'Delayed Reaction' to the strike.