How to fix eye pokes? Cagereaders weigh-in

Maggie Hendricks

After eye pokes were a huge problem at UFC 159, the UFC said they will propose a rule change to have doctors decide if fights should end because of an eye poke. On Cagewriter's Facebook page, we asked readers what could be done in fights to reduce this foul that has messed up too many bouts.

One reader thinks fighters should have to take more responsibility for when certain kind of strikes go awry.

Fine Michael Bisping for sure. You shouldn't be allowed to throw a punch with your index finger extended and say sorry, it was an accident. When there is a disincentive to pawing at each others' faces openhanded they will stop doing it and eye pokes will go down. -- Knowa Metcalf

Bisping's eye poke is what ended his bout with Alan Belcher. Fining athletes to change their behavior has a precedent. The NFL has levied fines for certain types of hits, though inconsistency in enforcement has been a problem.

Changing up the equipment used in fights could also be a solution.

It's simple, extend an individual finger pad with a slightly cupped angle to it that still allows the fingers to be open and closed, but the tips of the fingers would be slightly covered and the hands would not open 100%... But more like 90-95%, thereby reducing the ability for the fingers to completely extend and poke the opponent in the eye. Finger straps would hold the pads to the fingers. -- Michael Carter

As far as eye pokes, the best solution may not be in the gloves but rather in the design of an ultra thin goggle. Something that won't interfere with sight, can be vented to avoid fogging, but also very streamlined and as unobtrusive as possible. -- Al Lamp

But inadvertent eye pokes, like groin shots, are going to happen.

I see eye pokes like I see groin shots, they are gonna happen. Designing a different glove may help a little, but even boxers get thumbs in the eyes and their whole hand is covered. I say treat eye pokes as a foul, a warning on the first one and take points away for any after the warning. Give the person who got poked 5 minutes to recover just like a groin shot. If they dont recover then stop the fight after a doctor looks at it. -- Bruce Leighty

Like every other problem that comes up in a sport where two people are fighting each other, eye pokes will likely never go away completely. Being open to innovation will help MMA reduce this annoying way to end fights.

Thank you to everyone who responded. You can join in the fun by liking Cagewriter on Facebook.

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