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Dana White on UFC 159 controversies: 'We really need to revamp some rules'

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Gian Villante protests after referee Kevin Mulhall stopped his fight against Ovince St. Preux. (USA Today)

Following two technical decisions at UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen on Saturday, UFC president Dana White thinks it’s time to revamp the rules.

In preliminary action that aired on FX, Ovince St. Preux and Gian Villante were in the third round of their light heavyweight match-up when St. Preux accidentally poked Villante in the eye.  Referee Kevin Mulhall called for time and asked Villante if he could see. Villante responded, “No,” and Mulhall immediately stopped the fight.

“He should have had a doctor come in,” said White following the UFC 159 post-fight press conference.  “You stop the fight. You send the guy to a neutral counter. You have a doctor come in a check him out, and the doctor determines whether he can go on or not. That’s what should have happened.”

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Typically, the scenario White explained is what takes place when a fighter is accidentally poked in the eye, but it obviously didn't happen that way in New Jersey.

“The guy said, ‘Can you see?’ He said, ‘I can’t see,’ so [the referee] stopped the fight. He said I can’t see because he got poked in the [expletive] eye. Give [him] a minute. But apparently, what [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva was telling me, there’s no poke in the eye rule here,” explained White.

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Dana White addresses the media during a press conference after UFC 159. (USA Today)

“If you get kicked in the groin, you get five minutes to recover from it. There’s nothing in the rules about a poke to the eye because in boxing there is no poke in the eye. Guys don’t get poked in the eye anymore in boxing,” said White.

During the UFC 159 co-main event between middleweights Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher, Belcher was poked in the eye in the closing minutes of the third round and the fight was stopped.

“What needs to happen is that ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions) needs to get together and we need to come up with a few things,” said the UFC president.  “We really need to revamp some rules and regs.”

The eye-poke issue isn’t the only rule White would like to see addressed.

“Obviously the eye-poke thing is a big deal. We need to talk about that. And the other thing is this three-point thing where you can’t get kneed if you have your finger on the ground. That’s not what the rule was meant for, so I think we’re due.”

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