Zingano appealed the TKO loss in front of the commission Tuesday in Anaheim, Calif. At UFC 232 on Dec. 29 in Inglewood, Calif., Anderson threw a kick in the first round and her toe went in Zingano’s eye. Zingano’s eye was injured by the toe and the referee stopped the fight due to Zingano not being able to intelligently defend herself.
At the CSAC meeting Tuesday, Zingano’s team argued that a toe to the eye should be a foul in the same way that a finger to the eye is. Zingano claimed that the fight should have been ruled a no contest, the way it would have been if the finish came via an eye poke with the finger or fingers.
The commission voted 6-1 to uphold the original result of TKO, with commissioner Mary Lehman the lone dissenter. The commissioners found that the way MMA’s Unified Rules are written that only a poke to the eye from a finger or fingers — not from a toe — constitutes a foul. The commissioners asked Foster, he said, to ask the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) rules and regulations committee to take a look at this rule in the future.
The night of the fight, John McCarthy, the godfather of MMA referees, explained on Twitter that the reason a poke from a toe is not considered a foul is because people cannot control their toes in the way they can close a fist on their hand.
You punch with a closed fist. If you sustain an eye injury based upon a legal punch the eye injury could lead to you losing the fight via TKO. A fighter can not control toes in the same fashion they can fingers. That’s why we do not call toe pokes to the eye #AskBJM https://t.co/GVjEUXVEhd— Big John McCarthy (@JohnMcCarthyMMA) December 30, 2018
Zingano will likely not have any long-term injuries to her eye, she said, but she initially thought it was ruptured. She has called for a rematch against Anderson and Anderson has said she’d be willing to do it. Zingano said Sunday backstage at UFC Phoenix that she has an appointment for a follow up with a doctor March 1.
I was worried my eye was ruptured. They say I’ll be ok tonight. Thanks to everyone for your concern. What are your thoughts on a finger digit poke vs a toe digit poke being ruled a tko? @ufc pic.twitter.com/qp6Ep4Q3MA— Alpha Cat Zingano (@CatZingano) December 30, 2018
“I thought I lost my eye,” Zingano said. “I thought if I opened my eye, it was going to spill out onto my face. I didn’t want to open it in the cage. When they came up and they checked it, they told me to open it. I said, ‘You’re not the one that I’m gonna open this for.’ Like, ‘I need somebody that knows what’s up to be looking at me.’ I thought I lost it.”
Zingano described the intense pain she felt in her eye that night, stating that she’d rather have a baby “10 times” rather than go through that again.
“My eye gets tired by the end of the day,” Zingano said. “It’s kind of like being under water just on one side of my head. My depth perception is off a bit, my dexterity is off a bit. Again, it’s been improving. It’s definitely not what it was a month ago. … My balance is off a bit. Probably the depth perception is the biggest struggle and then having just these weird kind of flashes, these weirds light going off.”