Wagner Prado writhed in pain and was "seeing double" after an eye poke from Phil Davis at the UFC on Fox 4 event on Aug. 4.
Doctors determined he was unable to continue after noticing blood trickling from his eye area, and the fight was declared a "no decision," leaving both the fans and fighters extremely agitated.
Prado apparently wanted to continue, and there was some kind of miscommunication due to the fighter's inability to speak English, but the point was that a gruesome poke to the eye resulted in a fight getting stopped.
Unfortunately, these instances happen far more often than not.
Philippou vs Fukuda
Less than a month ago, at UFC 148, Constantinos Philippou was poked in the eye by Riki Fukuda so severely that he thought he was blinded. "I thought I lost my eye," Philippou said in a post-fight interview with Ariel Helwani.
He added "Not only did I think I wouldn't be able to continue, I thought I wouldn't be able to see again and not be able to fight again. Even when I opened my eyes, I could barely see out of my right. Forget about the left, I couldn't see at all."
These instances have become all too familiar in the UFC and MMA fights in general, and it doesn't seem like it has gotten better over time. The tiny gloves that MMA fighters use, which have no covering over the fingers to allow for grappling when a fight goes to the mat, are the main reason why fighters suffer pokes to the eye.
In contrast, when it comes to boxing matches, the gloves used by the fighters completely cover the fingers, making eye pokes impossible.
Rogan Wants To See A Change
During the UFC on Fox 4 telecast, Joe Rogan suggested that some independent MMA promotions have fighters wear gloves with webbing over the fingers, which cuts down on the possibility of an eye poke.
He said that perhaps that needs to be looked at as we move forward with the sport. In my view, Rogan is definitely on to something.
Pokes to the eye can render a fighter completely blind and instantly end one's career, so it's a disaster waiting to happen. Forcing fighters to wear webbed gloves may hurt the grappling game, but I believe elite fighters would be able to make the adjustment without a problem.
Safety should be the main concern as MMA continues its ascent into the national sports mainstream. No one wants to see a fight stopped because a fighter gets poked in the eye. It's time for Dana White and local athletic commissions to consider making a change to the gloves worn by UFC fighters.
In Pride FC, the organization had fighters wear gloves that had all four fingers connected and a loose thumb. No one in Pride seemed to have a major problem sinking in a submission, and you rarely saw eye pokes in that organization.
Should UFC fighters start wearing webbed gloves to cut down on eye pokes? Let me know in the comments.
Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and supporter of the sport of MMA. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.