At 8pm on Tuesday, when the second bull of the evening had been dragged away, an announcement was made over the loudspeakers of Madrid’s Las Ventas bullring. The event was to be suspended, given that all three of the bullfighters on the day’s bill had been injured. It was the final nail in the coffin of barely an hour of action, dominated by the drama, blood and shock of a gory spectacle that left three bullfighters in the infirmary after suffering horrific injuries.
The worst victim, without a doubt, was David Mora. To the sound of the bugles and drums that announced the first bull of the evening, the matador made his way to the door of the bull pen. He stopped halfway, knelt down in the sand, and waited for the bull to appear.
Deslío emerged, looking around furtively until he made out the bullfighter, and then began his charge toward him. Still on his knees, Mora was violently trampled by the bull, which pivoted around his prey, flipping him over in the sand with his horns. The matador was left helpless in the arena, blood flowing out of his left leg, and desperately awaiting the arrival of assistance to distract the animal.
The doctors’ report left no doubts about the severity of the incident: “Two wounds, one in the inside of the left thigh, measuring around 30 centimeters, which has pulled the femoral artery out of place, with damage to the quadriceps muscle; another in the left armpit measuring 10 centimeters, which has damaged the vascular nerve bundle and reached the humerus. Prognosis: very serious.”
With Mora injured, the bull was dispatched by bullfighter Antonio Nazaré. And then, with a murmur of concern still audible in the ring, the second bull of the evening – the first for matador Saúl Jiménez Fortes – was released. Within seconds Jiménez was flipped into the air as he passed his cape over the bull. He fell to the floor, but appeared to have emerged unscathed. Nazaré was still in the ring, and was also caught by the bull, which made contact with his left leg. The medical report later stated that Nazaré had suffered “trauma to his right knee, with likely damage to his ligaments.” He was taken to the infirmary and not seen again.
But there were more surprises in store. Jiménez Fortes managed to slip as the bull passed him, falling to the floor and ending up at the mercy of the animal, who bounced him along the ground before Fortes could roll to safety. With the crowd now more nervous than ever, Fortes suffered yet another setback. As he raised his sword, ready for the kill, the bull caught his chest with its head, bouncing him up in the air for moments that felt like an eternity. He was able to walk out of the plaza, but with his breeches ripped apart, and a visibly limp. He was taken to the infirmary, but his medical prognosis was less serious than those of his colleagues: “Two injuries; one in the exterior of the right thigh, of 10cms upward, reaching the femur, and another of 10cms, which has damaged the vastus medialis. The other injury, measuring 10 centimeters, reached the pelvis.”
After that, there was nothing left to do but suspend the bullfight due to the injuries to all three toreros – the first time that had happened at Ventas in 35 years.