MMA Gloves That Prevent Eye Pokes | Simply Explained
You've seen it time and time again, an accidental eye poke that occurs in the middle of a UFC fight.
Are there any gloves that can fix this? In this page we'll go over MMA gloves that prevent eye pokes, how big the eye poke problem is in MMA, who it has affected, and how it can be fixed.
Table of Contents
- Eye Poke Problem in MMA
- Fighters Affected by Eye Pokes
- Problem With the Current UFC Gloves
- MMA Gloves That Prevent Eye Pokes
The Eye Poke Problem in MMA
The biggest problem in MMA besides weight cutting, is the amount of eye pokes that occur in the sport.
We need new gloves. Period!— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) March 14, 2021
They’re out there. I just don’t understand what we’re waiting for to make these changes. How many more eye injuries do we need to bring these new gloves in, that significantly reduce the spreading of the fingers.#UFCVegas21
When an eye poke occurs, it is devastating. It affects the fighter for the rest of the fight, and it's untreatable during the actual fight.
When one eye is affected by an eye poke, it immediately affects their vision, their ability to land strikes accurately as well as see strikes coming, by judging distance.
The only thing that a fighter can do is take the allotted time the referee provides for an eye poke infraction break, and then continue fighting.
Why Both Eyes Are Important
The reason why we have two eyes is to enable two things in our brain, namely depth perception and an increased field of view.
Typically, a pair of functioning human eyes are known to have a field of view of about 170 degrees, and humans are very capable of accurately determining the relative distance between the objects kept in front of them.
Fighters Who Have Been Affected by Eye Pokes
Heavyweight Champions Eye Pokes
Several fighters have needed to get surgery (or heavily considered getting it) from eye pokes that they sustained during a fight, including Daniel Cormier, and Stipe Miocic.
Both of these fighters are former UFC Heavyweight champions, widely considered one of the best to ever do it.
This is to say that it's not a fluke that this occurred to them, as they're both considered some of the best at their craft.
Belal Muhammad Eye Poke
In recent memory, Belal Muhammad was accidentally poked in the eye during his bout against Leon Edwards.
The eye poke was so bad that Muhammad was on the ground screaming in pain, and the fight was ruled a no contest.
Michael Bisping Eye
Unrelated to eye pokes, Michael Bisping famously lost an eye from a serious eye injury in the octagon, after multiple surgical procedures.
Problem With The Current UFC Gloves
The issue with the UFC gloves is that they allow the hand to open completely, creating more opportunity for fighters to extend their fingers and poke opponents in the eye.
“Having curved gloves will help, because it does allow you to still lock your hands and wrestle,” Cormier said. “You can still grab, you can do everything, it keeps the fingers from going straight. Even when Jones would touch people in the eye, he wasn’t trying to. He was just trying to manage distance and because he’s so long, he’d put his arms out...
When every fighter is able to completely stretch out their palm, eye pokes will naturally happen repeatedly.
MMA Gloves That Prevent Eye Pokes
A solution to this problem is using gloves that already partially close the hand, instantly eliminating the majority of eye pokes.
I think a curved glove would solve a large percentage of eye pokes. #UFCVegas21— Matt Schnell (@DANGER_Caged) March 14, 2021
The good news is that there are already gloves out there that do this, and have even had success preventing eye pokes in the past.
The famous Pride gloves were used in the Japanese organization for years in high profile fights.
The Pride gloves immediately force the fingers to go down once the gloves are put on.
It was extremely rare for eye pokes to happen, in fact most people who watched MMA during that era will probably not be able to recall more than one moment where this occurred.
The one downside to these gloves, would be having to get used to forcing your hands open with more strength when grappling.
Trevor Wittman's Gloves
MMA Superstar coach Trevor Wittman created his own patented gloves that instantly sit more comfortably in a naturally curved position.
Many of Wittman's fighters endorse this glove, and even Joe Rogan went on to say that he is a huge fan of them, only moments after trying them for the first time.
In fact, Rogan went on to say:
“I like how it’s curved,” the UFC commentator said, noting how the gloves direct the fingers downward rather than straight outward. “It’s curved right away. That’s way better — like the old PRIDE gloves.
“Good padding too,” Rogan said as he tested the glove out against his own hand. “I like them a lot. These are definitely better than the ones the UFC is using right now, I’ll tell you that.”
Why The UFC Hasn't Used Wittman's Gloves
Presumably since the UFC will want ownership over the gloves and design exclusively to the UFC, whereas Wittman will still want control over his creation not limited to just one company.