Though a relatively rare occurrence, the debate on how eye pokes are handled in MMA has been raging for awhile given the foul’s potential for ending a fighter’s evening (and career if serious enough). While some have called for a change to the open-fingered gloves the sport uses, UFC welterweight Jason High has an easy solution worth implementing that wouldn’t involve a dramatic change to the way action unfolds.
“One thing I think they should do, though, and I said this on Twitter…eyes are just as sensitive as balls. You should get five minutes with an eye poke, to see if you can get your vision to clear up,” said High in an interview with MMASentinel (transcribed by Bloody Elbow).
“Gian Villante should have gotten some time after he got poked in the eye. You see a black spot for a little bit, but if you’re given five minutes, you can probably recover. Don’t take the fight away from him without giving him the five minutes. That’s nonsense,” High continued. “You should get as much time for eye pokes as you do for kicks to the balls.”
Villante suffered an eye poke against Ovince St. Preux at UFC 159 and was immediately asked if he could see. When he responded that he couldn’t, the referee waved the action off, forcing judges to score things based on less than a minute of action in the third round. In the end, the officials awarded OSP a Technical Decision.
As far as changing the gear fighters wear, High dismissed the idea as being unnecessary given the odds against an eye poke actually affecting a match-up’s outcome.
“I think that is all nonsense,” chuckled High. “You’re not going to put fingers over the gloves. That’s just ridiculous. Eye pokes are mostly isolated. It doesn’t really happen that often, and nobody’s lost their eyeball. I never think about getting poked in the eye when I’m fighting. I’m not, ‘I hope I don’t get poked in the eye by this guy’.”
PHOTO CREDIT – MMAWEEKLY