Eye pokes continue to cause a problem for fighters in the octagon. During UFC 159, there were two unfortunate eye pokes that ended the night for those fighters. The eye poke from Ovince St Preux to Gian Villante was a questionable call. Villante made the mistake of telling the referee that he couldn’t see out of his eye, so the referee did what he’s supposed to do and called the bout off.
Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher competed in the co-main event of the card. Bisping dominated Belcher from the get go and in the third round, Bisping accidently split Belcher’s left eye lid because of an eye poke. Bisping won the decision but that night left us with a serious question. What are we going to do about eye pokes?
Joe Rogan stated that we need new gloves to control this whole eye poke dilemma. This is mixed martial arts, the gloves are created in a way that allows all styles of martial arts to be beneficial. Wrestling, grappling and striking are made available because of the gloves presented.
One thing that refs rarely put into effect are point deductions. If an eye poke takes place in a fight. The fighter who accidentally hit them in the eye should still be reprimanded for what transpired. Getting poked in the eye can end up ruining someone’s career. There needs to be consequences for when this happens.
If the eye poke was unintentional but not as drastic as others, if the fighter still can’t see but just need a few minutes, that should be allowed. Gian Villante only needed perhaps a minute or two to get his vision back. By him stating that he couldn’t see right then and there unfortunately ended his night with a loss.
What is the answer? That’s not for us to decide. Hopefully the athletic commission will sincerely try to find a way to fix this problem. We don’t need fighters losing their vision because of a silly eye poke. People need to step up and get this problem resolved.