MMA fighter Mark Munoz receiving what looks like a liver kick from MMA competitor Eric Simpson.

The Dreaded Liver Shot

Mark Munoz took this kick from Eric Simpson, and he still won the match. MMA photographer Esther Linn did a great job of capturing the impact that a well placed kick can have, but the camera does not always tell the truth.

This has all the markings of a liver shot or liver kick, which is a kick or punch that hits the right side of the body directly over the liver. When perfectly executed, a liver shot will trigger an immediate vagus nerve reaction, resulting in excruciating pain and a fighter who drops to his knees on the spot. A TKO is a foregone conclusion. That’s because the body shuts down all non-essential systems to deal with possible liver damage. So the fact that Munoz was not immediately dropped and went on to win the fight is an indication that it wasn’t a perfectly executed liver shot.

Esther Linn is one of the top MMA photographers. You can see more of her work at