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Friday, 05/03/2013, 09:15 am

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How to Fix the Eye Poke Problem?

Joe Rogan was pissed. The eye poke Michael bisping hit Alan Belcher with at UFC 159 was deep and it was potentially career threatening. If you have ever been poked in the eye with significant force you can recall how bad it felt and how hard it was to see. Now imagine that force coming from an athlete like Bisping.

A suggestion that would not solve the issue but be entertaining as hell would be one boxing glove on the lead hand. Hardcore fans can recall Art Jimmerson fighting Royce Gracie at UFC 1. No one was sure what he was thinking, but it has provided lots and lots of laughs over the years. You couldn’t poke anyone in the eye and it would look hilarious, especially when the fit hit the ground.

A serious option is to round off the end of those gloves so the fingers can’t protrude. This seems to defeat the purpose of a unique MMA utility glove, but it does keep an athlete’s eyes relatively protected from finger damage. Grappling would only be slightly more challenging when it came to locking in submissions, but it would be doable.

One more option that I can guarantee the athletes in the UFC would riot over is eyewear. Basketball type goggles if you will. Upsides? Protection without really hindering vision. Downsides? What if they cracked from force and sent protective covering in to the eye? There is also the potential fogging up that would render a fighter basically blind in the Octagon. What about the possibility of unnecessary stoppages for equipment malfunctions.

There are no real clear-cut answers. What do you think? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.

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76 Comments to How to Fix the Eye Poke Problem?

  1. TheTude says:

    eye pokes are like groin shots, just a hazard of the sport, MMA is not the only sport where people get poked in the eye, i think the only sane solution is for referees to enforce the closed fist rule more often when standing and striking.

  2. The Way Of The Dutchman says:

    Maybe it’s possible to make gloves with fingers moving freely to grapple but with a cover over the fingertips so the nails are covered.

    I don’t see goggles as a possibility, that shit is going to hurt and damage eyes if the fighter gets punched on the goggles.

    Full boxing gloves would take away the grappling ability.

    So it can only be a minor adjustment to the gloves.

  3. Kingsforge says:

    Start taking points away if a fighter repeatedly uses and open hand to distance with, warn them to use a closed fist once, then after that start taking points.

    If it they put it in the rules then people will start training with a closed fist so it won’t be a habit when they do a proper match.

  4. dude7 says:

    Is the author of this article completely stupid or what?

  5. CyberAce says:

    DQ if you poke someone in the eye period. That will make the fighters think twice about going close to the face with an open hand. They should be in control of their hands and fingers. That is the stick. Other than that say bye bye to grappling and hello to mitts.

  6. Simmo says:

    Why not just tape the tip of the fingers together, or index to middle and ring to little… Both hands.
    Two or four taped together would surely minimize the single single finger poke
    Covering up the nail with tape would also stop slashed eyes like bisbing fight.

  7. Sec says:

    Simple solution. All fighters are required to wear a breathable, skin-tight sleeve over the bandages, but under the gloves, that fits like an extra glove. Then, by the fingertips, add a moderately sized cushion pad. Can call it the “Underglove.” This won’t prevent eye pokes, but it will disable serious damage during an eye poke and will allow the fights to go on, and it will not hinder grappling at all. Not sure what the material of the underglove could consist of, but something that doesn’t slide, move, or cut off blood flow to the fingers. Some sort of latex perhaps? Something where you can still stick a little looping pad over the fingernail and under the front/bottom of the finger. Something soft and cushioned that will not cause any scratching damage.

  8. corey says:

    leave the gloves how they are, and tape the fingers. if they tape up fingers like they do the hand it will make it so the fingers are bulkier, which its harder to get poked in the eye by a rounded bulky object then say your fingers. plus the tape would cover the finger nails which do the most damage in an eye poke. All of the protection aspects will be met while still allowing fighters to use finger lock tech. like securing double under hooks

  9. f00n says:

    Replay. If the eyepoke looks intentional then disqualify. If you watch Bisping when he poked Belcher it wasnt intentional. He was getting hit at the time and had his arm extending. By that time he had already found his range and was trying to defend himself somewhat. It’s a shame but what can you do. This is MMA not ticklefest. Nobody is gonna ban a kimura for breaking an arm so why try re-invent the sport around an eye-poke. It doesn’t make sense. Every fighter gets in the cage knowing they are more than likely coming out injured. They still get in. Respect to that.

  10. GRT 3000 says:

    fighters that continuously poke in the eye must where mittens in their next fight as punishment. problem solved. keep your hands closed.

  11. MARQUARDT BIGGEST CHEATER ALL MMA says:

    There are some very clear REPEATED offenders like Bisping (INTENTIONAL) more often than not, Rashad, Jones, Phil Davis pokes his opponents at least twice everytime he fights. ONE POINT DEDUCTION for second eye poke. Referee needs to be more vigilant about watching fighters that really POINT there fingers while PAWING with lead hand as a range finder (PHIL DAVIS) worst offender and he has fingers that are FREAKISHLY LONG so its even worse than average fighter that uses his or her hand for range finder. Last but not least referee needs to ISSUE MORE WARNINGS

  12. The Way Of The Dutchman says:

    Josh Cockshag is one of the intentional pokers.

  13. vaad says:

    I agree with the comment that its a hazard of the sport. It’s going to happen. The author of the article could have done a better job writing it

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