Earlier this year in May, UFC president Dana White stated that the promotion was looking for a new glove design that would be less susceptible to committing eye-pokes. Since then, five months have passed and there have been no changes to the current UFC gloves. And to no one’s surprise, the eye-pokes have continued.
White commented on the issue in the aftermath of UFC 166 saying, “we’re working on it.”
The issue has been raised again due to two separate fights at the recent event, including one on the main card, Tim Boetsch vs. C.B. Dollaway. Boetsch suffered two eye-pokes by Dollaway and the fight was briefly paused both times to allow Boetsch to recover. Dollaway was even penalized by having a point deducted.
It appears from White’s comments that he supported the point deduction.
“Keep your f—ing fingers closed,” he said. “The eye-poke is the most dangerous thing that happens out there. Tim Boetsch already had surgery on his [poked eye], and he pokes him twice. It’s bad. Keep your hands closed.”
Regarding the lack of progress on designing a new type of fighting glove for the UFC, white commented, “that’s not an easy fix.”
White elaborated on the point further by explaining that designing a glove that allows you to grapple and punch effectively without being susceptible to eye-pokes is very challenging.
“How do you make a glove that you can grapple in and not poke people in the eye in? It makes it tough.”
White also said that another potentially difficult obstacle in coming up with a new glove design is getting it approved by the athletic commission.
White first considered the idea of a new glove design after UFC 159, when the co-main event featuring British favorite Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher was marred by an eye-poke by Bisping. However, unlike Dollaway, Bisping was not deducted any points and went on to win the fight via unanimous decision.