2016 has already been an ugly year for MMA fouls.
Most notably, UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione suffered a pair of eye pokes during his doomed bout with Travis Browne on Jan. 17.
Mitrione went from arguably winning a fight one moment to becoming a gruesome internet meme the next as his right eye began to swell. Many, Mitrione included, believe the fouls undoubtedly led to the TKO loss he suffered late in round three.
Speaking with Stephie Hayne of Bloody Elbow, UFC commentator Joe Rogan believes more needs to be done to protect athletes.
"I think the fouls, especially the eye pokes, need to be addressed," Rogan said. "A lot of times when a fighter gets poked very badly and chooses to continue they get beat up. That doesn't seem fair at all. Something radical needs to be done. Taking a point away isn't enough. I firmly believe that 99.99 percent of fouls are unintentional. That said, when someone gets badly damaged, maybe where they can't see, I don't think one point is enough.
"I don't think it should be a warning and then a point. If people keep doing it fighters are going to be wounded to the point of potentially losing sight in their eye. Right now, we're just sticking our head in the sand and not doing much."
Rogan wouldn't mind seeing the UFC shift their gloves to more of a curved "PRIDE style," but really, he seems to be pushing for harsher penalties for offenders.
"They're devastating," Rogan said of eye pokes. "It's not a small thing. It's not worth a point. It's worth a lot more than a point. First of all, automatic point deductions. No matter what. When a guy gets poked in the eye, 'Oh, I know it's unintentional.' No. None of that. There's no accidental. Take a point away.
"Just because you didn't mean to damage a guy and effectively take away some of his vision doesn't mean you shouldn't be penalized for it. You did it. That guy lost something so his opponent should lose something, as well. Instant point deduction."
Rogan would also like to see all groin kicks be reviewed by referees, partly to settle cases where there may be a dispute.
"There are certain things that the ref and I can't see so when a guy gets kicked low they should review the tape," Rogan said. "Instantly. The ref should always review the tape. It should be a law and if the kick went low? One point. F**k it. One point for low kicks and one point for eye pokes. I guarantee you that s**t would decrease dramatically.
"People would be pissed off, lose fights and say, 'It was only because this guy faked that groin kick,' or whatever, but all you'd need to do is make sure it never happens. That might be the only way to make sure it never happens outside of changing the equipment."
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Just know, Oct 2006 - Oct 2007, I fought 8 times All televised fights as well. @ufc wants that part of the monster back HUGE news coming— Big Ben Rothwell (@RothwellFighter) February 5, 2016
You @stipemiocicufc keep an eye out, because that bag doesn't hit back...— Big Ben Rothwell (@RothwellFighter) February 5, 2016
That damn media again.
Get well soon.
Having to get my wisdom teeth out next week.. They've been bothering me for a while pic.twitter.com/pKLWdWfbWa— Sage Northcutt (@sagenorthcutt) February 4, 2016
Or what?— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 5, 2016
You lost 45% of all your fights.
Not exactly Ronda Rousey are you.... https://t.co/YluuhuYLNv
Announced yesterday (Feb. 4 2016)
Donald Cerrone vs. Alex Oliveira at UFC Fight Night: Pittsburgh
Timothy Johnson vs. Marcin Tybura at UFC Fight Night: Zagreb
Mairbek Taisumov vs. Damir Hadzovic at UFC Fight Night: Zagreb
170 Alessio Di Chirico vs. Bojan Velickovic at UFC Fight Night: Zagreb
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