I’ve wanted to write about this for a long time and after last night’s main event at Vegas 21, I think it’s the perfect time to talk about this. Belal Muhammad vs Leon Edwards had to be stopped in round 2 due an eye poke that momentarily blinded the American in his right eye. Muhammad has posted on twitter that he can see a bit out of the eye, yet his full vision isn’t back yet.
This once again proves that the UFC’s gloves are horrendous and need to be changed. 10/20 years ago, these eye pokes weren’t an issue, because distance control wasn’t as vital in MMA so most guys didn’t put their arms forwards to gauge how far their opponent is before attacking. Mainly because back then, most guys were brawlers. The likes of Chuck Liddell would just throw bombs at you until you go to sleep. MMA is so much more technical now, it’s not cage fighting, it’s actual martial arts and there’s a lot more thinking that goes into it.
The UFC literally have a coach in Trevor Wittman who created his own MMA equipment company because the UFC’s gloves are so bad. So why are they bad? The gloves prevent fighters from fully closing their fists and are so restrictive that it forces the fighter’s fingers to be outstretched. This means for the majority of time, even if they try and prevent it, their fingers will be in the face of their opposition, making eye pokes practically impossible to stop. Fighters don’t have the time to think about their fingers with all the other things they have to process in a fight. So the solution is don’t make it an issue. Use the gloves that Pride and Bellator use that cover the hinge of the finger. The fighters would actually be able to close their fists unconsciously. Yes, this would make a bit grappling harder. However, firstly, these guys use these type of gloves in training, so there’s barely an effect. Secondly, they prevent fighters from being blinded mid-fight and we are unlikely to see a situation like this again.
I don’t know if it’s nostalgia bias or pride (no pun intended) but the UFC need to change their gloves and I don’t know how much more evidence needs to be showed to prove so.