clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Daron Cruickshank's eye injury usually seen only in 'car accidents and dog attacks'

Daron Cruickshank (right) looks down when he hears the no contest decision against K.J. Noons.
Daron Cruickshank (right) looks down when he hears the no contest decision against K.J. Noons.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Daron Cruickshank didn't want the fight to end -- he was winning, after all. But there was that fear of the unknown. And an eye injury isn't anything to mess with.

"It would be terrible to lose an eye for some reason, because I don't exactly know what's wrong," Cruickshank told MMA Fighting.

K.J. Noons poked Cruickshank in the left eye in the first round of their The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale fight Friday night in Las Vegas and then landed another eye-poke to the exact same spot in the second. At that point, Cruickshank's vision blurred and he couldn't see. Referee John McCarthy wanted to give Cruickshank more time to reciver, but Cruickshank told the doctor he was done. The bout was ruled a no contest.

"There was no recovering," he said. "I didn't want to fight with one eye."

Cruickshank made the right call. When he got out of the Octagon, he was further examined by a UFC doctor who told him he had not seen an injury like Cruickshank's in 10 years in the fight game. Cruickshank had a torn tear duct in his left eye -- the kind of issue the doctor had only experienced previously in "car accidents and dog attacks."

After the event, Cruickshank went to the doctor's office where he was further examined. The UFC doctor on call coincidentally happened to be an eye specialist. The next day, he had surgery to repair the torn duct. He won't be able to tear up from his left eye anymore, but other than that he is OK.

Cruickshank (16-5) wishes things would have been different. He had won the first round against Noons and seemed to be heading toward his second straight victory before the poke.

"I still kind of feel like I didn't get the finish," Cruickshank said. "All that work to get there and no finale. I want to beat him up bad."

Cruickshank said he will be cleared to spar in three weeks and then he can start preparing for his next fight, maybe sometime in February or March. He's hoping it'll be a rematch against Noons, but he doesn't think Noons will accept, "because I was beating his ass. I don't think he has a chance again."

"The Detroit Superstar" feels like he should have won anyway. He doesn't think it's fair the fight was ruled a no contest when he was clearly winning. Cruickshank believes athletic commissions need to tweak the rules when it comes to eye-pokes. Francisco Rivera lost at UFC 181 on Dec. 6 when he was poked in the eye by Urijah Faber and Faber swooped in for a submission finish.

"So many guys get poked and there are no points given up," Cruickshank said. "Everybody gets warnings. They need to enforce what they have. There needs to be different rules. From my instance, I won the first round and I was winning the second round. It could have went to the judges scorecards then."

Cruickshank said he would have taken home $32,000 had he won, rather than just $17,000. And hey, maybe he and Noons would have won a $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus on top of that.

"They were both illegal blows," Cruickshank said. "What if he would have kicked me in the groin twice? Is it still a no contest or is it a win? It should have been a win on my side."

Maybe he'll get a chance to avenge it in early 2015.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting