Daniel Cormier has responded to allegations that he intentionally poked Stipe Miocic in the eye in their first two contests.
Cormier and Miocic have fought twice previously. They first met in 2018 when Cormier, then the light heavyweight champion, moved up to heavyweight division to challenge Miocic for the division’s ultimate prize. Cormier won that first contest by first-round knockout. After Cormier defended the heavyweight title against Derrick Lewis later that year, he and Miocic then rematched in 2019. That time around, Miocic evened the scored, weathering some early adversity to stop Cormier in the fourth round and reclaim the heavyweight title.
After both of these contests, Miocic claimed that Cormier poked him in the eye.
Ahead of the pair’s tie-breaking trilogy, which is scheduled for August 15, Cormier has responded the allegations that he poked Miocic in the eye in their first two fights.
“I’m not purposely doing that,” Cormier told MMA Fighting. “I’m not purposely poking him in the eye. That first fight, I kind of poked him in the eye but the issue with that was sometimes when I spar and because I’m shorter, I have the 16-ounce gloves, I can kind of flick my hand towards guys and hit them when they’re a little bit out of range. I think that’s what happened the first time.
“The second time, once I think my knuckle got jammed into his eye but that’s not a finger,” Cormier added. “I kind of punched and the thumb was tucked into a fist but the knuckle got him in the eye.”
Cormier, who is generally seen as a consummate sportsman, explained that he would never do anything to intentionally jeopardize the long-term health of an opponent. He notes that he’s seen first-hand the affect eye injuries can have on a person.
“I’m not trying to poke the guy in the eye. That’s f**king stupid,” Cormier said. “Why would I ever do that? I don’t wish long term damage to this guy’s eye. I don’t wish that the guy can’t see out of his freaking eye. That’s crazy.
“One of my friends and co-workers deals with that, Michael Bisping. I don’t want to see another guy having to deal with that. That’s crazy. I’m not trying to poke this guy in the eye.”
While Miocic has previously accused Cormier of poking him in the eye, Cormier says he’s also been poked in the eye by his rival. He notes that eye pokes are a real risk when wearing four-ounce MMA gloves.
“I’ve gotten thumbed to the eye by Stipe before,” Cormier said. “It’s not like he’s never thumbed me in the eye. He’s stuck me in the eye before. Whatever.”
“We’re wearing these little gloves and we train with 16-ounce gloves,” Cormier added. “So sometimes you do things that you do with the 16-ounce gloves that you can’t do with the four-ounce gloves. I don’t purposely try to poke this guy in the face.”
What do you think of this explanation from Daniel Cormier?