Aficionados International

What happens when a matador gets injured?

david mora after goring being carried out

Contrary to popular belief a matador cannot really lose a bullfight as it is not a sport in the first place. Bullfighting is seen as an art form rather than a sport (see here.). However bullfighters can and often do get injured in a manner that impedes them from continuing their performance.

 At a common Corrida de Toros three matadors will take on six bulls in total with the most senior matador taking on the first and fourth, the second senior matador performing with the second and fifth bulls and finally the third matador in line fighting the third and sixth animals. If for example the first matador gets gravely injured during his performance with the first bull of the day, it will fall to the 2nd matador to kill that bull. Subsequently the third matador will then perform with the second bull alternating with the second matador from here on in until all six bulls have been dispatched. Should another matador get injured, it will fall to the remaining matador to perform with all remaining bulls.

It is rare for all three matadors to get injured in a way that forces the event to be suspended. However this did happen on May 20th 2014 at a Corrida de Toros during Madrid's San Isidro festival.  Matador David Mora got injured during his first pass to an El Ventorrillo bull called Deslío.  He suffered two gorings. One in his left leg with an upward trajectory of 30cm that caused serious muscle and nerve damage and another 10cm deep horn wound through his left armpit (see photo above - which shows David Mora being carried out of the ring).

It then fell to Antonio Nazaré to perform with and kill Deslío.  Nazaré then, while performing a guest spot with the capote during the second bull of the day, suffered a severe ligament tear and was forced to abandon the ring. Jimenéz Fortes subsequently received three different horn wounds, each 10cm deep while performing with that same bull. He was able to persevere and finish his performance by killing Féten, a bull from the Ranch of Los Chospes. However due to profound bleeding from his wounds he then had to abandon the ring as well in order to be operated on immediately causing the suspension of the event after only the death of the second bull.

The last time this had occured in Madrid before was 1979. David Mora is still struggling with nerve damage and was not able to return to perform during 2014.

Jimenez Fortes goring

Jiménez Fortes being gored by Fetén ( both photos by Andrew Moore)